Research Brief: The Impact of Medicaid Coverage Restrictions on Abortion

Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income people who meet certain eligibility criteria. The program is a critical resource for those with limited financial means; Medicaid coverage has been shown to improve health and education outcomes, and reduce mortality.

Though Medicaid covers a range of medical services, including pre-natal and childbirth care, Congress prohibits Medicaid from covering most abortions. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976 and renewed annually as part of the federal appropriations process, prohibits federal funding for Medicaid coverage of abortion care except when a woman is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or when her pregnancy endangers her life. States have the option to use state funds to provide abortion care coverage in a wider range of cases, but most states follow the federal example and restrict Medicaid coverage of abortion to the limited cases allowed under the Hyde Amendment.