Here’s What HR7 Means For Your Reproductive Rights

by Samantha Mercado

Just days after the women’s march, the Republicans in the House of Representatives once again proved that they won’t listen to what women have to say about their reproductive rights. The House of Representatives just passed a bill titled HR7 which would basically make the Hyde Amendment law, as opposed to a budget rider.

For those unaware, the Hyde Amendment is a provision that bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. The Hyde Amendment had always been an option in the federal budget, but since its creation in 1976, it has been passed with every budget, even though theoretically, it could be removed. This new HR7 bill would make it so that the Hyde Amendment is no longer just a budget option but a concrete law. This not only puts a huge dent in the movement to repeal the Hyde Amendment, but it pushes the Amendment a step further.

HR7 boxes in private insurers with a provision that takes away government subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion through Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. Logically, under HR7, insurance with abortion coverage will be more expensive than insurance without it so it would diminish people’s desire and means to buy abortion-inclusive insurance which in turn, could lead to fewer insurers providing abortion coverage at all.

All in all, HR7 would make obtaining an abortion more expensive and continue the cycle of discrimination against poor women and women of color trying to obtain an abortion. As it is, women who use Medicaid to help cover some of the costs of an abortion still have to pay $575 out-of-pocket. This is particularly scary because the majority of women who need abortions are low-income women, young women, and women of color, according to the Guttmacher Institute. According to Vox, about one in six women “of reproductive age” use Medicaid as their primary health insurance, so the Medicaid ban within bill HR7 would put those women at even more of a disadvantage.

Screen Shot 2017 01 25 at 11.39.26 AMVia Guttmacher Institute

HR7 would not only affect those who rely on Medicaid and the ACA, but tons of women who work for the federal government and obtain their health insurance through their jobs. While their insurance plans may be incredibly comprehensive and they make good salaries, they still don’t have coverage for an abortion because their insurance is federally funded.

What HR7 is doing is putting low-income and minority women at more of a disadvantage and hurting them — these are the people who need coverage and assistance the most. While HR7 is not banning abortion, it is putting it out of reach for millions of Americans who need it, and on a darker note, it could bring about the rise of unsafe, unhealthy, and illegal abortions. If history has taught us anything, it is that abortion legislation like HR7 does not end or reduce abortions, it gives way to more dangerous alternatives. The bill will soon be moving on to the Senate floor for a vote. Now is the time when our voices matter most– when our rights are in jeoprady we cannot stand silent. Call your Senator today and voice your opposition. 

First photo via Pixabay/ParentingUpStream

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