October marks the 30th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, the law that prohibits using federal funds for abortions. Passed every year since 1976, the Hyde Amendment does not allow any woman on Medicaid, in the military, or on disability insurance to receive financial assistance for an abortion, except in cases of incest or rape, according to the National Organization for Women. While some states allow funding to be used in cases where the mother’s life would be endangered or fetal abnormalities would occur, many abide by Hyde guidelines, according to the National Abortion Federation.
Because of the lack of federal funding, millions of young, low-income women and women of color are disproportionately affected, according to the Pro-Choice Public Education Project. Every year, women who can not afford a safe abortion may put their lives and health at risk by turning to an unsafe, back alley procedure. By not providing funding to women who need it most, the Hyde Amendment is making abortion inaccessible for countless women.