I just got back from the 2011 National Network of Abortion Funds organizing summit in Denver, Colorado. The weekend helped recharge my battery, and more importantly, gave me a lot of tangible tools that I can use to help get an abortion access fund started in Arizona.
The opening plenary session of the summit was about the Hyde Amendment and Health Care Reform. Stephanie Poggi of NNAF, Eesha Pandit of the New York Abortion Access Fund, and Marlene Gerber Fried from NNAF explained what the Hyde Amendment is, and why the repeal of Hyde needs to be a priority for the pro-choice movement.
What is the Hyde Amendment?
The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976, and was only one of 200 anti-abortion bills that were passed in the backlash against Roe v. Wade. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. The anti-choice members of Congress never actually believed that they would get the law passed because the bill was a clear case of reaching too far. The Hyde Amendment initially had no exceptions, not even in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the woman. The bill received 25 roll call votes, and exceptions for rape and the woman’s health had to be added to Hyde in order for the bill to pass.
During the Congressional testimony on the Hyde Amendment, Henry Hyde blatantly admitted that he didn’t want any women to have access to abortion, but he knew he couldn’t have everything he wanted so he focused on restricting abortion access for the women he knew he could effect: low-income women. [Read more...]