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Learn about Medicaid, health insurance plans, and local abortion funds.
Planned Parenthood
TBH Just the facts. No judgment.
No apologies.
In This Issue:
Did you know? Federal government funds are banned from being used to pay for abortion services + What does the Hyde Amendment mean for survivors of sexual assault? + A landmark moment for the intersex community
Wendy Lu
As a Chinese American woman, I grew up believing that crying made me fragile, and that expressing sadness on a bad day meant I was an attention-seeker...Over the years, I've given myself the permission and space to express my emotions and grow from them."
— Wendy Lu, editor at Planned Parenthood and freelance writer
At Planned Parenthood we talk a lot about the stigmas surrounding health — and mental health stigma is a part of that. Check out this article on mental health stigma in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, written by our very own Wendy Lu.
"Why doesn't Medicaid cover abortion? How do you pay for it?"
In case you didn't know, Medicaid is government-funded insurance for people with low incomes, and it covers one in five women of reproductive age. Because it's a government program, Medicaid is subject to the Hyde Amendment — which prevents the federal government from paying for abortion. (Want to know more about the Hyde Amendment? Keep reading below!)

Some health insurance plans cover abortion and some don't. If you’re in need of an abortion, a good first step is to call your Medicaid or private insurance plan and the health center where you'll be getting care to find out if your abortion will be covered and how much it will cost.

There are several ways you can pay for abortion services:

The Hyde Amendment doesn’t keep states from using their own money to cover abortion. Right now, 17 states use their own state funds to ensure that people with low incomes can have abortion coverage without restriction. Another handful of states will cover abortion in limited circumstances.
If your insurance won’t cover your abortion, or if you don’t have health insurance, your local Planned Parenthood health center may be able to help. Many health centers can work out a payment plan with you. Some even provide services on a sliding scale (meaning the lower your income, the less you pay).
You can also see if a local abortion fund can help cover your costs. Check out the National Network of Abortion Funds to find support in your area.

— Chelsea at Planned Parenthood
The Hyde Amendment creates a significant financial barrier for people with low incomes and disproportionately affects people of color. Due to the structural inequalities in our country that link racism, sexism, and economic inequality, women of color disproportionately comprise the majority of Medicaid enrollees. In fact, 31 percent of Black women between the ages of 15 and 44 rely on Medicaid, compared to 16 percent of their White counterparts.
Hyde's Exceptions:
Sexual Assault
The Hyde Amendment is a 42-year-old ban that prevents the federal government from paying for abortion except in specific cases of rape or incest, or if the pregnant person's life is in danger. However, it does not consider the psychological and emotional impact of situations in which a person is forced to carry a pregnancy to term. Politicians discuss this exception frequently — but what does it mean for survivors of sexual assault?

The Hyde Amendment puts people with low incomes under enormous scrutiny for seeking abortion services. Everyone should have the ability to make these decisions about their own bodies — regardless of income and regardless of the circumstances of a pregnancy.

The exception for cases of rape or incest subjects victims of sexual assault to the unjust and dehumanizing experience of being required to disclose — or sometimes even "prove" — their assault in order to get permission to receive the abortion care that they need. In Iowa, for example, the governor must approve any abortion paid for with Medicaid. The state’s Medicaid program also requires that cases of rape be reported to law enforcement, a health agency, or a physician within 45 days of the sexual assault — when some people may not even know yet that they’re pregnant.

These requirements delay and block access to abortion and are fueled by deep skepticism and lack of trust in people seeking an abortion and in victims of sexual assault. They ignore the fact that two out of three sexual assaults go unreported, many because of the fear of retaliation in a culture that punishes victims for speaking out against their abusers. The choice to disclose sexual assault is a deeply personal one — no one should be pressured to do so, regardless of how much money they make or the health care services they need.

Since the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976, additional Hyde-like policies have been enacted. Indigenous people benefiting from the Indian Health Service, people with disabilities, Peace Corps volunteers, military personnel, and veterans are all affected by abortion bans, and people in immigrant detention centers and federal prisons routinely face additional obstacles to accessing abortion. Some of these populations also experience disproportionate rates of sexual assault.

The Hyde Amendment is not permanent law. Congress has the opportunity to lift the Hyde Amendment each year — and activists aren't giving up. An individual's decision about their own body should be justification enough. To learn more and get involved, check out the Repeal Hyde Art Project and All Above All.
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Get the Details:
+ Body of Proof: Hyde's Rape and Incest Requirements in the #MeToo Age
+ The Problem With Rape Exceptions
+ For Native Women Seeking Abortion, Hyde Amendment Is Another Broken Promise
+ How Bans Affect Patients with Disabilities
+ Advocates Sue to Block Iowa's Total Abortion Ban
We need to stop telling intersex people that their bodies are wrong, or that they need fixing."
Last month, California became the first state to pass a resolution condemning unnecessary and risky cosmetic intersex surgeries on children. This is a landmark moment for the intersex community. Intersex people are born with some biological characteristics that are considered "female" and others that are considered "male." Intersex is not a sexual orientation or a gender identity. Learn more and share this video to educate others prior to Intersex Awareness Day in October.
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Fun Fact:
Intersex people are about as common as redheads (1-2 percent).
In Judge Brett Kavanaugh's hearings last week, he referred to birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs." Let's get one thing straight: Birth control and abortion are both vital, safe, and common reproductive health care services — but they are not the same. Birth control prevents pregnancy before it begins.
Defier of the Month
Charlene A. Carruthers IL
Charlene is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with more than 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist, and youth leadership movement work. As the founding national director of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), a member-led organization of Black 18-35 year-olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people, she’s worked alongside hundreds of young Black activists. Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice, and civil rights campaigns nationwide. Check out her new book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.
Every Vote Counts.

Are you eligible to vote? Take a few minutes to register to vote or check your voter status. Remember, each state has different deadlines for voter registration. Don't miss your deadline.
Unable to vote in this election? There are other ways to get involved — like talking to your friends, volunteering to get out the vote, and participating in online projects like The Love Vote.
Last month, Planned Parenthood announced that if the Trump-Pence gag rule goes into effect, it would be forced to withdraw from the Title X program.

"Let me reassure you: Planned Parenthood will continue to fight tooth and nail to stop this rule from taking effect. And we'll do everything we can to keep providing care to patients, whether that care is funded through Title X or not. Planned Parenthood providers can't waver from their promise to give complete and medically accurate information to their patients. And we would never, ever compromise on providing safe, legal abortion as part of comprehensive reproductive health care."
— Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Read more.
TBH (To Be Honest) is a monthly newsletter dedicated to learning about our bodies, talking about sex and relationships, and challenging health inequity and injustice. Send us your feedback.

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