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Catholics for Choice to Congress: Pass the EACH Act

March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON – Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, called on lawmakers in the 117th Congress to swiftly pass the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, introduced today by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). The measure reverses 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 said:

“We are grateful to Congresswoman Lee and Senator Duckworth for the reintroduction of the EACH Act, a landmark bill that would end the federal government’s meddling in the coverage and provision of abortion care in the United States. No one in America should have to choose between forcibly carrying a pregnancy to term against their will and paying out of their own pocket for basic medical care.”

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 federal prisoners 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 contains updated language reflecting the fact that people of all genders need access to abortion care affirms that religious exemptions cannot be used to discriminate against patients seeking the federally protected abortion coverage that this measure provides.

“The EACH Act is an important step toward ensuring that every person in the United States – regardless of what they earn, how they are insured, how they identify, how they access healthcare or what anyone else’s religious beliefs might be – has access to a full range of pregnancy-related coverage, including abortion services,” said Manson. “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 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.