WASHINGTON, DC – Today, bold legislators led by women of color in Congress introduced the EACH Act, which guarantees insurance coverage for abortion wherever people live and however much they earn. The bill comes as a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of All* Above All found that nearly six in ten Americans support public and private insurance coverage for abortion.
The impact of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts coverage for abortion for people enrolled in Medicaid and other federal health programs, is compounded by the harms from systemic racism, economic insecurity, and immigration status. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives of people working to make ends meet, especially women of color – the same people disproportionately harmed by abortion coverage bans.
The EACH Act ensures that lack of coverage does not stand in the way of anyone making the best decision for themselves and their families.
“The Hyde Amendment has to go. It’s caused decades of harm, especially for women of color working to make ends meet,” said Silvia Henriquez, co-president of All* Above All. “We envision a world where our ability to get abortion care doesn’t depend on how much money we have or how we get our health insurance. The EACH Act, led by a congressional majority who looks like the people they represent, shows us that a better, more equitable future of abortion justice is possible.”
Thanks to the leadership of women of color, this year marks the first time the EACH Act has been introduced under a president who, as a candidate, publicly expressed his support for ending the Hyde Amendment. Vice President Kamala Harris was an original co-sponsor when the EACH Act was introduced for the first time in the Senate in 2019. Support among the public for ending Hyde is also at an all-time high, with 62 percent of national voters in favor of Medicaid coverage of abortion care.
“For decades, the Hyde Amendment has restricted essential reproductive health services, especially for low-income communities and communities of color,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. “I am proud to reintroduce the EACH Act and to continue working with All* Above All to finally put an end to this discriminatory policy and ensure that everyone can feel empowered to make critical decisions over their own health and wellbeing, regardless of their zip code or income. This is long overdue.”
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed a person’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions, making clear that the government has no place getting in between individuals and their doctors,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “But for decades, conservative lawmakers have worked to whittle down that constitutionally-protected right to the point where it’s now effectively inaccessible for low-income people who rely on Medicaid, for servicemembers, and for millions more Americans nationwide. The Supreme Court didn’t protect these rights only for the wealthy few, and they didn’t say only for those who live in certain states. That kind of discrimination is not right, not fair, and it’s certainly not equal — so I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the EACH Act so that every person in this country has equal access to their constitutionally-protected rights, no matter income, race, or zip code.”
“Reproductive justice has always been a racial and economic justice issue, and we must hold our ground and stand in our power,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. “That means legislating reproductive justice, because with this anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court continuing to threaten our bodily autonomy, we can’t let up in our fight to protect the right to abortion care for all people. The EACH Act is necessary legislation that meets the moment by repealing the racist and discriminatory Hyde Amendment — which disproportionately impacts Black and brown people — and affirming the right of everyone to make personal reproductive health care decisions without political interference. I am grateful to my colleagues and to our allies at All* Above All for their partnership on this critical bill.”
“Today, millions of women who depend on Medicaid and other government-sponsored health plans have the right to an abortion in name only — but not in practice. Despite Roe v. Wade affirming the constitutional right to abortion, federal coverage restrictions have made abortion accessible only to those with means. This is absolutely unacceptable — and it’s having a devastating impact on women of color, women with low-incomes, and immigrants,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the EACH Act, to finally end harmful abortion coverage restrictions and address the racial and economic inequities that prevent so many patients from getting the reproductive health care they need.”
“Health insurance or income shouldn’t decide any woman’s ability to access the health care she needs—including abortion. But the reality for too many women—particularly for lower-income women, immigrants, young women, and women of color—is that this care is out of reach,” Senator Mazie K. Hirono said. “I join Senators Duckworth, Murray, and other colleagues to introduce the EACH Act, which repeals the Hyde Amendment, because it’s past time to remove this barrier to women accessing the reproductive care they need and making sure that women can equally access their constitutionally-protected right to abortion care.”
For women of color, and Black women in particular, the past year has been marked by multiple crises rooted in systemic racism. The EACH Act is one step toward breaking down inequities in abortion access.
“The Hyde Amendment is, at its base, a racist policy that violates the most basic human right to decide whether or when to have children,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “Congress must pass the EACH Act to ensure that Black women, femmes, and all people have unfettered access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care services, including abortion services. Abolishing the Hyde Amendment will help us achieve greater economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities.”
Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has put abortion care out of reach, particularly for people working to make ends meet, women of color, young people, and immigrants. Studies show that when politicians place restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortion, they force one in four poor women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Research also shows that denying abortion coverage forces low-income women – who have already been hit hard by the pandemic – deeper into poverty.
“Nearly half of Americans can’t afford an unexpected expense of $400, particularly Black and brown people working to make ends meet,” said Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage. “For low-wage workers, insurance coverage for abortion can be the difference between getting the care they need or going without. The EACH Act is a step closer towards a world where people can get the abortion care they need with dignity and economic security.”
All* Above All unites individuals across the country and over 130 organizations to build a future where abortion is affordable, available, and supported for anyone who seeks care. As a catalyst for abortion justice, we accelerate strategy, shift narrative, move policy, and build networks to ensure that care is there when we need it. Learn more at allaboveall.org and follow our social media at @allaboveall.