Medicaid abortion restrictions are an insurmountable barrier

The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, forces Medicaid to deny insurance coverage of abortion in almost all circumstances. This lack of insurance coverage impacts the majority of people who obtain abortion in the United States. Previous research on the impact of the Hyde Amendment found that about one quarter of women who would have had abortions instead gave birth when Medicaid does not cover abortion. A new ANSIRH study investigated whether that estimate is still relevant.

Researchers conducted surveys and interviews with women entering prenatal care in Southern Louisiana, a state where Medicaid does not cover abortion. They asked them about whether they had considered abortion for this pregnancy and, if so, whether lack of Medicaid coverage of abortion was a reason they had not had one. Researchers then used estimates from the study data as well as estimates of births, abortions, and births covered by Medicaid in Louisiana to estimate the proportion of low-income women who would have had abortions but instead give birth when Medicaid does not cover abortion.

Their findings confirm the earlier research review: About one fourth of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women give birth instead of having an abortion because Medicaid does not cover abortion. Restrictions imposed by the Hyde Amendment are an insurmountable barrier to obtaining an abortion for women.

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