Sens. Hill and Breen join call to repeal the Hyde Amendment

Posted: September 30, 2016 | Senator Breen, Senator Hill

Senators say restriction on abortion coverage discriminates against low-income women

AUGUSTA — Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which discriminates against millions of low-income women by denying coverage of safe, legal abortion services.

Democratic Sens. Dawn Hill of York and Cathy Breen of Falmouth are lending their voices to the growing group of activists, lawmakers and organizations calling for an end to the law, which limits the autonomy of women who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage.

“The decision of when to start a family is one that should always be made by a woman and her doctor, regardless of how much money she makes,” said Sen. Hill, the Assistant Senate Democratic Leader. “Not everyone has the same view of abortion, and everyone has the right to their opinion. But politicians and bureaucrats shouldn’t get to control a woman’s health decisions simply because she is poor.”

Abortion providers in Maine — including Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England — have joined the ACLU of Maine in a lawsuit against the state in an effort to restore access to abortion for Mainers covered by Medicaid.

According to recent research, a majority of Americans agree that a woman enrolled in Medicaid should have all her pregnancy-related health care services covered by insurance, including abortion services.

“A right isn’t really a right when it’s dictated by how much money you make or where you live,”  said Sen. Breen. “The Hyde amendment is fundamentally unfair because it tells low-income women that they don’t get the same options as those with private health insurance coverage. We need to repeal the law so that women — all women — have real options.”