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Catholics for Choice Renews its Call to Congress: Pass the EACH Act

January 26, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 26, 2023
Contact: John Becker, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 203-0931

Catholics for Choice Renews its Call to Congress: Pass the EACH Act

WASHINGTON – Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, applauds today’s introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

The landmark bill would reverse the draconian and discriminatory Hyde Amendment, ensuring that all people who obtain health care and/or insurance coverage through the federal government will be able to access abortion care, free from political interference in private health decisions.

Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson, M. Div. said:

“Catholics for Choice is grateful to Reps. Lee, DeGette, Pressley, and Schakowsky for reintroducing the EACH Act, which would end the federal government’s meddling in the coverage and provision of abortion care. With anti-choice politicians now free to ban abortion in states across the country thanks to the Supreme Court’s devastating Dobbs decision, protecting and expanding abortion access at the federal level is more important now than ever before. Introducing the EACH Act less than two weeks into the new legislative session reflects this newfound urgency. As Catholics who believe in equality of care and equal justice for all, especially the most vulnerable, we urge Congress to pass this measure without delay.”

Catholics for Choice Director of Policy Shannon Russell said:

“Everyone deserves equal access to abortion care when and where we need it, regardless of who we are, where we live, or how much we earn. But for nearly fifty years, the discriminatory Hyde Amendment has pushed care out of reach for millions by prohibiting federal funding for abortion. This policy has a despicable history of harming those already facing systemic racism, economic insecurity, and immigration restrictions — the same people whose rights and wellbeing our Catholic faith calls us to champion. That’s why Catholics for Choice organized lobby visits with pro-choice Catholic advocates representing 25 states to support legislation like the EACH Act, which would help to ensure that abortion care is truly affordable and accessible to all.”

The Hyde Amendment, first passed by Congress in 1976, prohibits the use of federal Medicaid and Medicare funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or when the patient’s life is in danger. Because Medicaid is the primary public health insurance program for low-income people in the United States, the Hyde Amendment’s ban on abortion coverage is especially harmful to Black, brown, and Indigenous people of color; young people; LGBTQ people; and immigrants – all of whom are disproportionately in need of coverage through Medicaid. Opponents of reproductive freedom have also extended Hyde-like restrictions to any U.S. government employees, Native Americans, veterans, members of the military, and those in immigration detention facilities and prisons who receive health care or health insurance coverage through a federal government provider or program.

The EACH Act was first introduced in 2015, and the current version once again contains updated language reflecting the fact that people of all genders need access to abortion care and affirms that religious exemptions cannot be used to discriminate against patients seeking the federally protected abortion coverage that this measure provides.

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.