Barbara Lee and House Democrats pen letter to President-Elect

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Washington, D.C. – This week, 105 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, sent a Letter to President-elect Trump urging the elimination of the Hyde Amendment. Federal restrictions prevent millions of women, including low-income women, servicewomen, federal employees, Native American women and residents of Washington, D.C. from exercising their constitutional right to abortion care. The letter was co-led by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

“It’s past time for Congress to end the discriminatory Hyde Amendment once and for all. With this letter, House Democrats are sending a clear message: we will not back down from defending women’s constitutional rights,” said Congresswoman Lee. “No woman should ever be denied reproductive health care because of how much she earns or the type of her insurance. The EACH Woman Act would end this discrimination and ensure that all women, including low-income women and women of color, can make the healthcare decisions that are best for them and their family.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said, “The Hyde Amendment denies crucial health care coverage to women who serve in our military, work in our federal government, and join the Peace Corps, as well as those who depend on Medicaid and the Indian Health Service. All women, no matter their income level, zip code, health insurance plan, or career path should have access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion services. It is unacceptable that this constitutional right would be denied to women because Republican politicians refuse to allow them to make their own choices. It is time to get rid of the Hyde Amendment once and for all.”

The letter calls on President-elect Trump to end decades of health care discrimination and adopt reproductive health care policies based in dignity and respect for women. The letter notes, “For too long, low-income women and women of color have shouldered the burden on our country’s restrictive reproductive health laws. Together, we ask that you send a strong signal that this will no longer be the legacy of the United States.”

“For far too long, low-income, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately affected by the implementation of Hyde. Such blatant discrimination not only limits critical access to reproductive health services, but can also have a crushing impact on a woman’s economic mobility,” said Congresswoman Moore. “If President-elect Trump is serious about creating economic opportunities for the most vulnerable among us, it is imperative that we end this archaic policy and stop those who continue to restrict women from making their own personal reproductive decisions.”

“We will hold President-Elect Trump accountable every step of the way as we protect access to women’s health care and the constitutionally-protected right to an abortion. The Hyde Amendment overwhelmingly affects low-income women and women of color, and we will not stand quietly by should the Trump Administration continue supporting this destructive and discriminatory amendment that denies them the coverage they need,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. 

“Over the last 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has been used to deny low income Americans Medicaid coverage of reproductive health care. Whether a woman has private or government funded health insurance, every woman, in concert with her family and doctor, should be able to make her own health decisions,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We must promote and protect the rights of every woman to make her own family planning decisions, and to have access to a full range of healthcare services. The time to repeal the Hyde Amendment is now.”

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 Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity. Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) and Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force.