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What is the Hyde Amendment?

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Question: What is the Hyde Amendment?
When the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the U.S., Medicaid covered abortion services until 1977 when the Hyde amendment went into effect.
Answer: Introduced by Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) in 1976, the amendment that bears his name restricts federal funding for abortion. Passed by the House as part of the Department of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act in 1976, the Hyde Amendment prohibits appropriated funds to be expended on abortion except when the mother's life is endangered by her pregnancy.

Each year since then, the Hyde Amendment has been attached to the annual federal spending bill; and over the years other exceptions for rape, incest, and "severe and physical health damage" to the mother have been added, removed, added, and debated as the numbers of pro-life and pro-choice members of Congress have fluctuated.

The 2009 version of the Hyde Amendment allows for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest or endangerment of the pregnant women's life.

The Hyde Amendment does not allow Medicaid coverage for abortion. Also prohibited is abortion coverage for women in in the military, the Peace Corps, federal prisons, and those who receive medical care from Indian Health Services.

Sources:
"The complete text of the current Hyde Amendment." National Right to Life, NRLC.org, retrieved 16 November 2009.
"The Hyde Amendment."National Committee for a Human Life Amendment. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
"The Hyde Amendment: a violation of human rights." National Network of Abortion Funds nnaf.org. Retrieved 16 November 2009.

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