Just because something has been policy for many years doesn’t make it a good policy. I’ve got a whole list I could go through (not letting women vote, not letting gay people marry, the whole “separate but equal” thing). Add to that list the Hyde Amendment.

What’s the Hyde Amendment? It is an amendment added to the yearly federal funding bill that bans Medicaid from covering abortions with federal money except in the narrow cases where a woman is a survivor of rape or incest or when her life is endangered. Added 37 years ago by Representative Henry Hyde, this harmful rider has been hurting low income women ever since.

The point of this ban is to stop low-income (many minority) women from having abortions. Indeed, Rep. Hyde said as much in discussing the amendment: “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”

This is not right. The amount of money a woman has or doesn’t have should not prohibit her from having an abortion. 17 states agree and use their own money to cover most abortions.

And it also isn’t right that Hyde and his fellow politicians get to decide for a low-income woman whether she will have an abortion. Decisions about adoption, when to end a pregnancy, or when to raise a child are best left to a woman to make with her family, her doctor and her faith.

The bottom line is that a woman herself, not politicians, should make informed decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy. And that bottom line eans that this hurtful ban must be lifted.

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