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The Daily Tar Heel

The Hyde Amendment reaches 40th anniversary

The provision limits abortion access for disadvantaged women

The provision has been passed as a rider on the annual federal budget every year since — but a growing group of Democratic legislators is opposing the law.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA, is the primary sponsor of the EACH Woman Act, which would lift the ban on funding for abortions through Medicaid in all 50 states.

“Forty years of Hyde is 40 too many,” she said in a conference call.

Currently, 17 states provide near-universal Medicaid funding for abortions, while the District of Columbia and 32 states, including North Carolina, follow the Hyde federal standard of Medicaid funding for abortions only in the cases of life endangerment, rape and incest.

South Dakota only provides Medicaid funding in the case of life endangerment, in apparent violation of federal law.

Lee said the Hyde Amendment discriminates against poor women, young women and women of color, all of which are most likely to use Medicaid.

“It’s outrageous and clearly targeted at those (whom) Republicans believe are politically expendable,” she said.

The EACH Woman Act, proposed in Sept. 2015, has received 124 co-sponsors — all of them Democrats.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D.-C.T., is a co-sponsor of the bill. She said during a conference call Republicans who support the Hyde Amendment are denying women their rights under the Roe v. Wade decision.

“No matter how much some of our colleagues in the majority want to rail against (Roe v. Wade) and do it in, access to safe and affordable family planning services is essential to women’s lives and their families,” she said.

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler, a UNC senior and the campus representative for NARAL Pro-Choice N.C., said the Hyde Amendment has received more coverage recently due to the lobbying efforts of pro-abortion rights groups.

“It’s very positive because I think most folks don’t even know what the Hyde Amendment is,” she said.

The Hyde Amendment has been addressed on the campaign trail by both presidential candidates.

This year Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have publicly supported overturning the provision, the DNC for the first time in its history.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump wrote in a letter to anti-abortion groups he would make the Hyde Amendment a permanent law.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the anti-abortion N.C. Values Coalition, said the call to overturn the Hyde Amendment shows the Democratic party has radical views.

“(Hillary Clinton) is the most radical pro-abortion candidate we’ve ever had,” she said.

Fitzgerald said federal funding should continue not to be provided for abortions through Medicaid.

Orlovsky-Schnitzler said even pro-abortion rights people sometimes oppose federal funding for abortions.

“People get really concerned about the idea that their money is being used to pay for something like that,” she said. “Of course, in reality it ends up disproportionately affecting low-income women and their right to choose.”

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