Texans vs. the Hyde Amendment: the Fight for Affordable Abortion

We fund and provide abortion. Together, we’re united to end policies that ban insurance coverage for people we serve.

One of us funds abortion care. The other provides abortion care. Our work may be different in practice, but together, we ensure Texans who need abortion are supported in their decisions and can get the care they need. Together, we are also committed to ending the barriers that far too many people face every day, and that includes lifting policies that ban insurance coverage for abortion.

This month marks 44 years of the Hyde Amendment, which bans insurance coverage for abortion care for people enrolled in Medicaid, who are disproportionately people of color.

Hyde has carried devastating impacts for folks across the country, but here in Texas, it compounds with a myriad of additional barriers, including a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion, mandatory delay periods, forced ultrasounds, and medically inaccurate and biased counseling.

Texas’ infamous House Bill 2 shut down more than half of our state’s clinics just a few years ago, forcing Texans seeking abortions to travel 4 times farther and an average of 85 miles to reach their nearest clinic. Most recently, when Texans needed health care and relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our state instead worked tirelessly to exploit the pandemic and ban abortion.

Without health insurance due to Hyde and coverage restrictions, the cost of abortion care in Texas, travel to one’s nearest clinic, lodging, lost income from missed work, and child care for the 60 percent of people who have abortions who already have children, can be insurmountable.

Research has shown restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortion force 1 in 4 low-income women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. For years, politicians have also punished low-income communities by refusing to expand Medicaid, making any health care at all virtually inaccessible for Texans that we serve.

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As Texans and queer people of color who come from immigrant families, we’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand how our state government has turned its back on folks like us and our communities—and they go even further to harm and neglect Black Texans. This is evident in our state’s failure to address the high maternal mortality rate among Black women in Texas, who are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths as white women.

The marginalized people we serve are the intended targets of the barriers our state has created just to access health care. And we know what happens when someone isn’t able to reach the abortion care they seek—they’re more likely to be pushed deeper into poverty. Put simply, this is structural racism in action.

Texans vs. the Hyde Amendment: the Fight for Affordable Abortion
(American Life League / Creative Commons)

Texans, whether they call an abortion fund hotline or share while in the health center, tell us their stories of sacrifices, delayed care, and hundreds of miles of travel.

At the Lilith Fund, 68 percent of our clients are people of color, 45 percent are uninsured, and they travel an average of 158 miles to reach the abortion care they need. People are also resilient and share with us stories of finding loved ones to take care of their children, gathering the resources they need to access care, and being undeterred in exercising their constitutional right to decide what is best for them.

Wherever you live, however much money you have, it shouldn’t be this costly or difficult to access abortion care.

Together, we’ve been supporting Texans seeking abortion care for over ten years. As close friends and partners in this work, we are united for a future where Texans can get the abortion care they need and deserve to thrive in their communities, whoever they are and wherever they live, without barriers and stigma.

We are united to address the systemic inequities and structural racism in our health care system that deny dignity, agency, and autonomy to Texans of color and those who are struggling to make ends meet.

To the people that are impacted by these attacks: We see you, we stand with you, we believe that you deserve better, and we will continue to demand better for all of us.  

About and

Dr. Bhavik Kumar is a family medicine physician and abortion provider in Texas.
Amanda Beatriz Williams is the executive director of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, an abortion fund based in central Texas.