Today is International Safe Abortion Day. The anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which banned Medicaid coverage for abortions and has been blocking low-income women from receiving care for more than 40 years, is this Saturday. These two events were formed independently of each other, but, side by side, they highlight the urgent need for safe reproductive healthcare in America. Reuters recently reported that a link has been found between restrictive abortion laws and unsafe abortions — of which there are more than 25 million a year, according to the World Health Organization.
To celebrate the auspicious anniversary, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to sign into law a bill that unravels the Hyde Amendment's hold on women's rights in his state. HB 40 would remove bans in place on people with Medicaid or state employee health insurance, protecting their ability to get abortion care. In doing so, he'd follow Oregon, which passed a similar law back in July.
With the Hyde Amendment in place, women across the country are struggling to afford abortions that are already increasingly difficult to access. When paying out of pocket is prohibitive, some delay their procedures by weeks in order to get the money they need, putting their health at risk in the process. And, in many of these cases, their doctors aren't able to help.
In partnership with Physicians for Reproductive Heath (PRH), doctors are speaking out about how the Hyde Amendment has prevented their patients from getting the care they need. Ahead, read five of their stories.