The Center for Reproductive Rights voiced disappointment yesterday with President Barack Obama’s proposed FY2014 budget, which retains a ban on coverage for abortion in the Medicaid program except under extremely limited circumstances, a policy also known as the Hyde Amendment.
However, the budget included two positive steps to promote equal health care coverage for some women, including allowing the District of Columbia to use its own locally-raised funds to cover abortion services for low-income women.
The President’s budget also includes a long-overdue fix to permit coverage for abortion services for Peace Corps volunteers in the cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest-finally providing women in the Peace Corps the same limited coverage as federal inmates, immigration detainees, and now women serving in the U.S. military.
In a press release yesterday, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said:
Women deserve comprehensive health insurance that covers all their pregnancy related needs, including abortion care. By retaining the Hyde Amendment, women who depend on federal programs for their health care will continue to be subject to a cruel and discriminatory policy that keeps them from exercising their constitutionally-protected right to abortion. This unjust restriction on women’s reproductive health care must end.
We commend the President for the important steps he has laid out in today’s budget to improve coverage of critical abortion services for two populations who have long been subject to discrimination.
Politicians hostile to women’s reproductive rights have for too long used health care for low-income women in D.C. as a political pawn in the federal budget and the President’s proposal today begins the process of righting that wrong.
Furthermore, women serving in the Peace Corps-who are often far from home, on a limited income, and working in areas where rates of sexual assault are higher than in the U.S.-deserve the same access to comprehensive women’s health care as all other women in federal service.