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01.31.13 - Just when you thought the opponents of reproductive freedom couldn't get any more radical, they outdo themselves. An organization that pushes for so-called personhood measures—all of which have been resoundingly defeated, one way or another—is encouraging lawmakers to eliminate the rape exception from abortion coverage restrictions, according to Mother Jones:
The group says its first target is the Hyde Amendment, a restriction on the federal Medicaid program reauthorized annually by Congress. First sponsored by Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL) in 1976, the current version prohibits coverage of abortion services except in the cases of rape or incest, or if a woman's life is endangered. This ban has a direct effect on women struggling to make ends meet,, denying them insurance coverage for abortion just because they are poor. "Our mission is simple—remove exceptions from the law, beginning with the Hyde Amendment," the group says.
There's no doubt that the Hyde Amendment is bad policy. Here's why: The law prevents low-income women from accessing vital health services, depriving them of their constitutional right to a safe, legal abortion. Under Hyde, a woman struggling to make ends meet and enrolled in Medicaid cannot get an abortion in most circumstances—even if her health is jeopardized by her pregnancy—unless she is able to cover the entire cost out-of-pocket. The policy also patently discriminates against women. Abortion is a health service only used by women, and it is the only medically necessary service not covered by Medicaid. In short, Hyde is a punitive policy that restricts the healthcare options available to low-income women because of the type of insurance they have.
This call to eliminate rape exceptions is just another example that shows how out of touch the anti-choice extremists are with public opinion.