However, in 1977 Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which put limitations on Medicaid coverage of abortion, allowing it only in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life was physically endangered. Over the years, those two exceptions were eliminated. In 1979, abortions performed if a mother's life was endangered were no longer allowed, and in 1981 abortions performed due to rape and/or incest were denied.
As the Hyde Amendment must be passed by Congress annually, the pendulum of opinion over abortion coverage has swung back and forth very slightly over the years. In 1993 Congress permitted abortion coverage for victims of rape and incest, and the current version of the Hyde Amendment also permits abortion for women whose lives are endangered by their pregnancies.
The ban on federal funding for abortion affects more than low income women. Abortion is not covered for women in the military, the Peace Corps, federal prisons, and those who receive care from Indian Health Services.