Whose Choice: A Timeline of the Hyde Amendment and Its Impact on Abortion Funding


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When abortion was first legalized in 1973, federal funds were available to low-income women seeking medically necessary abortions who were reliant on the government for healthcare. In fact, at that time federal Medicaid funds paid for almost one-third of all abortions. But in 1976, Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL) successfully introduced an amendment that prohibited federal Medicaid coverage for abortion. Since then, millions of low-income women have been prevented from exercising their legal right to abortion, even when it is medically necessary. Now, as part of healthcare reform, Congress is considering extending the Hyde Amendment to the private insurance marketplace for the first time. If successful, this would significantly broaden existing policy by creating new and unnecessary obstacles for women seeking abortion coverage.

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