National Poll Shows Tide Is Turning on 43 Years of Restricting Abortion Coverage

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The majority of voters nationally support Medicaid coverage for abortion, according to a new poll released by All* Above All.

Forty three years after Congress first passed the Hyde Amendment, which bans Medicaid health insurance from covering abortion, new polling released today from Hart Research Associates shows that two-thirds (62%) of voters nationally believe the program should cover abortion. In battleground congressional districts, support for Medicaid coverage of abortion services is even stronger, with seven in 10 voters favoring coverage (69%).

Further findings show:

  • The proportion of voters who strongly favor Medicaid coverage of abortion services has increased 7 points since 2017, from 31% to 38% nationally.
  • An overwhelming majority of voters — 79 percent nationally and 77 percent in key districts — believe that the amount of money a woman has or does not have should not determine whether she can get health care services, including abortion.
  • Millennials (67%), Latinx voters (70%), and African American voters (73%) also support Medicaid coverage of abortion.

The Hyde Amendment is closer than ever to being repealed thanks to the leadership and activism of women of color. Momentum among members of Congress, state legislators, and local policymakers to end abortion coverage restrictions signals the tide is turning.

“Women of color have been working for decades to repeal the Hyde Amendment that denies low-income people affordable abortion care. Thanks to their leadership, the public is with us, and federal, state, and local lawmakers are making bold moves to end abortion coverage restrictions,” said Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All. “We are closer than ever to ending this cruel, heartless policy once and for all."

Since 1976, anti-abortion politicians in Congress have renewed the Hyde Amendment, pushing abortion coverage out of reach for people who are already failed by our health system, including women of color, young people, and transgender and non-binary people.

The restrictions on abortion coverage dictated by the Hyde Amendment have been made more challenging this year, as an unprecedented number of states passed laws banning abortion. The combination of restrictions and coverage bans force people to delay care or stop them from getting abortions altogether.

Restricting Medicaid coverage for abortion forces one in four poor women seeking an abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. When a woman wants to get an abortion but is denied, she is more likely to fall into poverty.

Earlier this year, members of Congress in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House introduced the game-changing EACH Woman Act, which repeals abortion coverage bans and ensures affordable abortion care.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed women’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions, making clear that the government has no place getting in between women and their doctors. The Supreme Court didn’t protect these rights only for wealthy women, and they didn’t say only for women who live in certain states,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), lead Senate sponsor of the EACH Woman Act. “Yet, low-income women who rely on Medicaid, female Servicemembers and millions more women are currently prevented from receiving the reproductive healthcare they need because of the Hyde Amendment. That’s why I introduced the EACH Woman Act, legislation that would end the Hyde Amendment and help make sure every woman in this country has equal access to her constitutionally-protected rights, no matter her income, her race or her zip code.”

“No one should be denied the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion, because of their zip code or income level. Sadly, that’s the reality for too many low-income people and people of color around the country due to the discriminatory Hyde Amendment,” said U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-California), who introduced the EACH Woman Act in the U.S. House. “I introduced the EACH Woman Act because it’s past time to repeal Hyde and ensure that everyone is empowered to make critical decisions about pregnancy regardless of financial situation.”

This year, states, and cities are also stepping up to end coverage restrictions. Lawmakers made Maine the 16th state to cover abortion care through its state Medicaid program. Illinois lawmakers, two years after ensuring their state Medicaid covered abortion, passed the Reproductive Health Act, which ensures private insurance coverage. This summer, New York City became the first city to directly fund abortion care and Austin, Texas, became the first city in the country to provide support like transportation and childcare for those seeking abortion.

“As we mark the anniversary of the passage of the Hyde Amendment, it’s imperative that cities and states continue to step up,” said New York Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council Women’s Caucus. “From our work creating the Abortion Access Fund in the New York City Council to our efforts to ensure that women’s health care providers can remain open following Title X rules changes, New York City is clearly leading on the front lines, and we will continue to do so for every woman in this country.”

All* Above All unites organizations and individuals, including 130 partner organizations, to build support for lifting bans that deny abortion coverage. Our vision is to restore public insurance coverage so that every woman, however much she makes, can get affordable, safe abortion care when she needs it. Learn more at allaboveall.org and follow our social media at @allaboveall.

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Alexa Garcia-Ditta
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