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How the US keeps poor people from accessing abortion | 2020 Election

This is an abortion rights demonstration in
1972. People marched to demand the right to legal
abortions. And the next year, the Supreme Court case
Roe v Wade granted them that right. But fast forward almost 50 years, and protests
for abortion rights are still happening. “What do we want? Access!“ A lot of the fight over abortion policy centers
on restrictive laws set by state governments. And the courts that uphold or strike down
those laws. Including the Supreme Court. But the President and Congress
hold a unique power over abortion access, because they have the final say on the federal
dollars that support it. In every federal budget for the past 43 years,
among all the programs the government funds — like the military, foreign aid, and education
— there’s also language about something the government can’t spend federal money
on: “coverage of abortion…. Except in the case of “rape or incest”
or if the pregnancy would “place the woman in danger of death.” This provision is called the Hyde Amendment. And it disproportionately affects low-income
people who rely on federally-funded health care. Every president since 1976 has supported the
Hyde Amendment by approving an annual federal budget from Congress that included it. But the 2020 election could change this, because
while one candidate supports the Hyde Amendment, the other has vowed to oppose it. The Hyde Amendment’s introduction into the
federal budget Can be traced back to Roe V. Wade,
In the years immediately following this decision, the federal government paid for abortions
through Medicaid, which accounted for roughly a third of all abortion procedures. But the anti-abortion backlash was swift—
Including in Congress. In 1976, Illinois Representative Henry Hyde
proposed the abortion-resticting Hyde Amendment during an annual budget hearing. It passed with a 199-165 vote, ending up in
that year’s spending bill where it has stayed ever since
voted for by anti-abortion politicians, and by pro-abortion-rights politicians
And, in every case, these budgets have been approved and signed by the sitting president. In 1977, Henry Hyde made the intentions of
his amendment clear: He said “I certainly would like to prevent,
if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor
woman,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only vehicle available
is the … Medicaid bill.” There’s a handful of agencies directly affected
by the Hyde Amendment that provide health care through federal funding, like the Indian
Health Service and Peace Corps. Medicaid is the biggest, though. It pays for basic health services for just
over 76 million people in the US who live near the poverty line or are disabled. Part of Medicaid’s funding comes from federal
dollars — the other part comes from the state you live in. Abortion care in the United States is largely
driven by where you live… both in terms of the availability of services and in addition
to that, the ability of insurance to pay for it
These 16 states will help Medicaid users cover the cost of abortion. But these 34 states and Washington D.C. won’t. Anyone seeking an abortion there has to pay
the full bill. That means nearly 8 million people of child-bearing
age who live in these states aren’t covered for abortion services because of the Hyde
Amendment. These Medicaid restrictions place the biggest
burden on low-income people. Laurie Roberts [00:10:16] We could basically
quit doing the work we do. If the Hyde Amendment didn't exist. Laurie Roberts manages an abortion fund in
Alabama, one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortion access. So an abortion fund is a organization that
helps people access abortion care. It can be anything that removes the barriers
to getting to and from the clinic. And then there's just direct financial support
for the abortion procedure. The price of an abortion in the first 10 weeks
of a pregnancy, without coverage, is roughly $500, and it gets more expensive in later
weeks of pregnancy. That’s a lot of money for someone who qualifies
for Medicaid. To be eligible, you have to make less than
138% of the federal poverty line. For a single person, that’s less than an
$18,000 annual income. For a family of 2, it’s $24,000 dollars. And for a family of 3, it’s about $30,000
dollars. And because of racial disparities in our country,
Medicaid recipients are more likely to be Black or Hispanic. I can personally say what it was like for
me…I went to the clinic… I wanted to have a procedure. And I couldn't, I didn't have the money in
time..That doesn't mean that I don't love my child…But what it means is I went through
a lot of emotional and physical trauma because what should have been a decision that was
only mine was taken away from me. A study of 269 women from 2015-2017 in Louisiana,
a state that doesn’t cover abortion through Medicaid, shows that 29% of women would have
had an abortion had Medicaid covered it. Which is the intended effect for anti-abortion
advocates: fewer people having abortions. Abortion restrictions like the Hyde Amendment
have made their way into other types of health insurance coverage, too. In 2010, Congress didn’t pass the Affordable
Care Act until it included language saying marketplace plans don’t have to cover abortion. Today, these states won’t cover it under
marketplace plans. And these states even restrict private insurance
companies from covering the procedure. And so that more and more people are affected
and they may not even know that they've been affected until they seek abortion care “But it’s the medicaid restrictions — both
federal and state — that specifically target poor people.” abortion is like many other services. If you have means, you can either have insurance
that pays for a service or you can afford to pay for these services out of pocket. And if it's not offered in a place that's
close to you, you can afford to either travel, get lodging, take time off or get childcare. All of those things are things that are available
to higher income women that may not be available to lower income women. The two candidates in the 2020 election are
solidly in their partisan corners on the issue of abortion access. But that wasn’t always the case. Joe Biden took office in the Senate in 1973,
the same year Roe V. Wade passed. And he's supported the Hyde Amendment since
it entered the federal spending bill in 1976. But in 2020, this is the landscape: where
the state you live in and how much money you have are the biggest factors in whether someone
can access an abortion. Which is why Joe Biden, as a presidential
candidate, says he changed his stance. "If I believe heath care is a right, as I
do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip
code," And Trump has only dug deeper in his anti-abortion
position. "I notified Congress that I would veto any
legislation that weakens pro-life policies It’s also why the stakes for abortion policy
for the 2020 election are clear. It’s a choice between a President who plans
to lift this barrier to abortion access for the country’s most vulnerable people. And one who will keep the status quo, at their
expense.