- The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, banned the use of federal funds for abortion services for people insured by Medicaid, except in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. It’s still in effect today.
- In the absence of federal funds to cover abortion costs, only 16 states have a policy that directs Medicaid to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions (this includes New York State).
- Twenty-six states require a person seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when they receive counseling and the abortion is performed (13 of these states have laws that effectively require the person to make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure).
- As of 2014 (the most recent available data, 20% of U.S. women of reproductive age lived 50 miles or more from the nearest abortion clinic. With greater distance comes greater out-of-pocket costs and delayed care.
- In the case of a minor seeking an abortion, 26 states require one or both of the minor’s parents to consent to the procedure. Ten states require that one or both parents be notified.
You may be thinking “Phew! Good thing we live in New York State! We passed the Reproductive Health Act, we allow Medicaid to cover abortion costs… access to abortion isn’t an issue here, right?”
Mmmm…. Not quite.
NYS has made great strides in protecting the right to an abortion and expanding abortion access. But the reality is that for many New Yorkers, abortion is still out of reach.
There are folks who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but they’re uninsured and can’t afford to pay for an abortion out of pocket. There are folks in rural areas who live further away from an abortion provider. There are folks who don’t have reliable transportation. Who can’t afford to take a day off of work. Who can’t afford child care. All of these are barriers to abortion access right here in our state, and a right without access isn’t a right at all.
So how to we expand access to abortion in the U.S.? One way to do that is to increase support for national and local abortion access funds, and we have an exciting opportunity to do that right now in New York State.
NYS Senator Alessandra Biaggi and NYS Assemblymember Karines Reyes have introduced legislation that would establish an Abortion Access Fund and permit taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to it on their state income tax return form. The money raised through this mechanism would be distributed by the Department of Health to nonprofit organizations providing logistical and financial support to individuals who find access to abortion out of reach.
Want to help get this bill passed?
- Familiarize yourself with your NYS senators and NYS assemblymembers!
- Let them know that you support this bill! Send them an email, a letter, or give them a call.