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Discriminatory Hyde Amendment remains despite the inclusion of some important domestic and global health care priorities

WASHINGTON — This week, two U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittees — Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor HHS) and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) — introduced draft fiscal year 2021 (FY21) spending bills. Unfortunately, the Labor HHS bill would retain the dangerous Hyde Amendment for another year, a disappointing and unacceptable move from the House’s first majority in favor of full reproductive rights for all. The Hyde Amendment unfairly bars people who depend on Medicaid for health care — people with low incomes, who are more likely to be women of color, young people, transgender, and non-binary people who have been systemically barred from health care — from using their health insurance to access safe, legal abortion.

Separately, the bills make important investments in sexual and reproductive health care, access, and education domestically and globally. This includes blocking the Title X gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood and other providers out of the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, and permanently repealing the global gag rule. The Labor HHS bill also includes improvements to sex education funding and would block dangerous regulations that allow providers to refuse care and discriminate against patients, especially transgender patients.  

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“The Hyde Amendment has no place in any congressional legislation — especially bills meant to expand sexual and reproductive care and invest in global health. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has blocked Medicaid coverage of abortion — part of a long tradition of legislative and state-sanctioned attacks that effectively bar people with low incomes from accessing health care. This targeted restriction, which disproportionately hurts Black and Latinx communities, is a symptom of the same systemic racism that has driven millions to protest over the past several months. 

“Despite this failure, other provisions of these bills do move us in the right direction. We thank Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro for rejecting the unethical Title X gag rule that undermined a program designed to help those struggling to make ends meet access care. And we applaud the rejection of abstinence-only programs and investment in complete, inclusive, and medically-accurate sexual education. We also thank Chairwoman Nita Lowey, for moving to permanently repeal the dangerous global gag rule. We look forward to working with these leaders and other members of the House to drive forward a truly comprehensive agenda that protects the health and human rights of people of every race and income level.” 

Last year, the administration gagged Title X health care providers from referring their patients for abortion, forcing Planned Parenthood health centers out of the federal program that provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to millions of people with low incomes. The majority of the people who access Title X care come from Black, Latinx, and other communities of color. This gag rule is part of a series of attacks on funding and access to sexual and reproductive health care, which remains out of reach for many people of color — for whom systemic racism still blocks access to equal health care and economic opportunities.

The global gag rule was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. On January 23, 2017, in one of his first acts as president, President Trump reinstated and expanded the global gag rule. As it stands currently, the rule blocks international organizations who provide, refer, counsel, or advocate for abortion from receiving any U.S. global health assistance — including to expand access to contraception, prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, combat malaria, and improve maternal and child health. The global gag rule harms health care access, silences local providers and advocates, and undermines reproductive rights worldwide. 

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

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