FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 5, 2014
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Groups Urge Obama to Eliminate Abortion Funding Restrictions from Budget
Today, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) joined 81 organizations in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to take a strong stand against the Hyde Amendment and related abortion funding restrictions by eliminating them from his FY 2016 budget.
“Funding restrictions pose the biggest barrier to abortion access for women,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). “With this budget, President Obama has the chance to ensure that a woman’s income doesn’t determine her access to basic health care.”
Too many low-income women are being denied access to abortion care due to politically-motivated polices that harm women and families. The majority of women of color live in states where Medicaid only covers abortion in the very limited cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Withholding coverage for abortion care often means women simply cannot access the care they need. Approximately one in four Medicaid-eligible women who would have had an abortion if funds were available must carry their pregnancy to term because they are unable to afford the cost of abortion care.
“A women’s income or state of residence should not determine her ability to make personal medical decisions,” said Saporta. “A strong stand by the Obama Administration against abortion funding restrictions is necessary if we are to put reproductive health choices back in the hands of patients where they belong.”
The letter was organized by the All* Above All campaign, of which NAF is an active member.
Full text of the letter is below and attached:
Dear Mr. President:
As organizations committed to advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice, and related social justice causes, we appreciate the important steps your Administration has taken to improve the wellbeing of women and their families, including the expansion of reproductive health care services. Moreover, the actions you have taken in prior budget proposals to eliminate certain abortion restrictions have made a real impact in driving momentum in Congress to modify such policies. Building on this tradition of executive leadership is critically important to our work.
There is no doubt of the challenges we face going forward. Now, more than ever, your support protecting and improving access to the full range of reproductive health care will be critical. That is why now is the time to be bold: we need you to take a strong stand against the Hyde Amendment and related abortion funding restrictions by eliminating them from your Fiscal Year 2016 budget. These budget riders have a far-reaching impact on women enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare; federal employees and their dependents; Peace Corps Volunteers; Native American women; women in federal prisons and immigration detention centers; and residents of the District of Columbia.
Withholding coverage for abortion care creates profound hardships for millions of women and families, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality health care, such as low-income women, immigrant women, young women, and women of color. And while nearly one third of states provide some abortion coverage with state Medicaid dollars, data from the U.S. Census indicate that today, nearly half of Latinas and approximately 70 percent of Black women—and a majority of all women of color—live in states where Medicaid coverage of abortion care is denied in cases beyond those of life endangerment, rape, and incest.
For many women, coverage for abortion care means the difference between getting the health care they need and being denied that care. For example, approximately one in four Medicaid-eligible women who would have had an abortion if funds were available must carry the pregnancy to term because she is unable to afford the cost of that care. The impact of such a denial can have long-term, devastating effects on a woman and her family’s economic future. A recent study found that a woman who seeks but is denied abortion care is three times more likely to fall into poverty than a woman who is able to get the care she needs.
Building on the efforts of dedicated advocates from across the country, a national movement led by Millennials, communities of color, and reproductive and economic justice advocates has risen up to call for an end to harmful bans on abortion coverage. We ask you, Mr. President, join us in standing up for the ability of women to make personal health decisions without interference.
The time is now. These policies have harmed our families, our communities, and our health for far too long. We urge you to eliminate all abortion coverage restrictions in your FY 2016 budget.
We look forward to working with your Administration so together we can defend access to reproductive health care, improve health equity and promote strong, healthy communities nationwide.
 National Latina Institute calculations from US Census Bureau “SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF THE UNINSURED IN THE UNITED STATES,” 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, http://factfinder2.census.gov/ [accessed November 18, 2014]
 Stanley K. Henshaw et al., Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review, (Guttmacher Institute, June 2009):27, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/MedicaidLitReview.pdf.
NAF is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for more than half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.