The promise made by President Joe Biden
to support abortion rights
was reflected in his fiscal 2022 budget proposal to Congress
The Hyde Amendment
, which denies insurance coverage for abortions to people
who receive their health coverage through government-sponsored plans like Medicaid
, is not included in Biden's budget proposal, which was submitted on Friday. Although abortion has been protected since 1973, following the Supreme Court
's Roe v. Wade decision, the Hyde Amendment makes the medical procedure essentially inaccessible for low-income women
“We are thrilled that President Biden kept his campaign promise and kept the Hyde Amendment out of his budget,” Destiny Lopez, co-president of All* Above All, said in a statement. All* Above All was founded as an effort led by women of color to restore and sustain public insurance coverage of abortion, and has since grown into an abortion justice coalition that has led the fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment.
“We urge Biden to now use his bully pulpit to stop the bullying of the Hyde Amendment and offer full-throated support for abortion justice,” Lopez said.
The budget proposal for the fiscal year 2022 reflects the administration's policy priorities and shows what the president hopes to accomplish in the coming years. Congress will review Biden's budget proposal and has the option of disregarding it entirely in order to prioritize its own policies, which is unlikely given Democratic control of both the House
and the Senate
The Hyde Amendment, named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde (Ill.), a vocally anti-abortion Republican
, was passed in 1976 and has been renewed every year since, prohibiting all federal health insurance
programs from covering abortions except in cases of rape
, incest, or to save the mother's life.
When lawmakers restrict abortion coverage under Medicaid, one in every four low-income women seeking an abortion procedure is forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, according to research
, and a woman denied an abortion is more likely to fall into poverty
than a woman who is able to obtain one.
Several pro-abortion lawmakers and advocacy groups praised Biden for keeping his promise and changing his position on federal funding for abortion insurance coverage.
“We are deeply grateful to President Biden, our country’s first pro-choice Catholic president, for the strong commitment to abortion rights and accessibility
that he demonstrates in his budget today,” said Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice.
“Eliminating Hyde is a critical step in ensuring that all people who obtain health care
and/or insurance coverage through the federal government can access abortion care, free from political or religious interference in private health decisions,” Manson said.
At the same time, some advocates were disappointed to see the Helms Amendment
included in the Biden administration
's 2022 budget on Friday.
The Helms Amendment prohibits the use of US dollars for abortion or abortion-related services in certain countries, even if abortion is legal in those countries. The Helms Amendment primarily affects Black and brown women in developing countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, prompting advocates and lawmakers to call the statute racist
According to a February report from the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization, Congress could prevent 19 million unsafe abortions worldwide each year if it repealed the Helms Amendment, and the overall number of maternal deaths due to unsafe abortions would fall by 98% in the 33 countries affected by the Helms Amendment.
Anu Kumar, president and CEO
of the reproductive health organization Ipas, called Biden's budget decision on the Hyde Amendment "historic," but she had hoped for more.
“It is unacceptable that President Biden did not use this opportunity to also signal his commitment to reproductive justice for all people, no matter where they live, at home or abroad,” Kumar said. “Since 1973, the Helms Amendment has oppressed and controlled the bodies of Black and brown women who live thousands of miles from the United States
using the power of U.S. funding.
Several lawmakers who support abortion rights have spoken out against the Hyde Amendment in recent months, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as well as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
“Let’s call this amendment what it is: anti-choice and blatantly racist,” Lee told reporters in March. “We know it disproportionately impacts low-income people and women of color. It should never have been signed into law, and it’s long past time that it was repealed.”