Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that essentially legalized abortions in America, has not turned out to provide all of the benefits that were originally assumed. The court found that our constitution’s implicit “right to privacy” guarantee applied to a woman’s choice to have an abortion through the due process clause of the 14th amendment. With this decision, however, the court also ruled that a woman could only decide to have an abortion while the fetus was still unable to survive outside of the mothers womb (usually 7 months or less). Unfortunately for many women in America, the option to have an abortion is not an easy process due to restrictions on public funding and insurance coverage.
Recently, Obama defended Roe V. Wade claiming it is critical to recognize abortion as a “fundamental constitutional right.” (CNSNEWS) Currently, women that are part of Medicaid are not always able to have abortions. The Hyde Amendment limits the use of federal funds for abortions, so low income women are often not able to have the procedure, no matter if it is legal or not. This amendment still does not provide coverage for low income women that want an abortion, even if the pregnancy is endangering the woman’s health. In 1980, the Supreme court found that the Hyde Amendment, “did not violate women’s right to abortion under the federal constitution and did not violate low-income women’s right to equal protection of the law under the federal constitution.” (Reproductiverights.org) Even though federal funds are restricted for abortions for medicaid patients, states are able to pay for abortion care if they wish.
The court’s finding that the Hyde amendment did not violate Roe v. Wade or the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment is astounding. Obama’s healthcare platform plans to begin granting federal funds for abortions. However, “ObamaCare” has been marked with controversy since its creation. Abortions can run up to and above $500. Unfortunately for some women in America, this amount is too great to afford. Leaving the debate of “Should government provide healthcare to needy American’s?” aside, the medicaid program should cover this legal procedure which is some cases is necessary for a woman’s health. The fact the court found that the law provided the same protections (the law did not favor one group over the other) for needy women on Medicaid and women with means to afford their own healthcare, leaves me baffled and confused. Women who are covered by the government’s healthcare are not provided with the choice to have an abortion; which is a somewhat inexpensive procedure considering that Medicaid covers physician services, hospital inpatient care, outpatient hospital services, emergency room services, X-Ray and laboratory services, dental care, prescribed drugs, transportation to medical facilities, artificial limbs/braces, eye care services, nursing facilities, and mental health services in West Virginia. (Department of Health and Human Resources) This amendment needs to be reviewed again as it is placing an unjust burden on low-income women.