He may not be taking office until January, but President-elect Donald Trump is still getting plenty of advice from Congress on what to consider once his term begins. According to BuzzFeed News, over 100 Democrats in Congress wrote to Trump requesting that he get rid of the Hyde Amendment, which is a federal law excluding “any federal government or taxpayer money from funding abortions.” The exceptions to the law are cases of rape, incest, and extreme health concerns.
The letter was likely written in response to a letter from Trump in September, promising that he would make the Hyde Amendment permanent law (it currently must be renewed every year). In this message, Trump announced his plans to defund Planned Parenthood, send its resources to community health centers and permeate the Hyde Amendment so citizens don’t have to pay for abortions.
The Democrats in Congress have asked Trump to eliminate the Hyde Amendment from his fiscal year budget request for 2018. Their letter pointed out that the current restrictions on abortion coverage limit the medical coverage of millions of women nationally, especially poor women and women of color. “Approximately one in four Medicaid-eligible women who would have had an abortion if funds were available must carry the pregnancy to term,” the letter reads. “The impact of such a denial can have long-term, devastating effects on a woman and her family’s economic future.”
The EACH Woman Act (Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance) has been crucial in fighting against the Hyde Amendment, with representatives trying to pass it since 2015. “Whether she has private or government-funded health insurance, every woman should have coverage for a full range of pregnancy-related care, including abortion, ” the EACH Woman Act’s website reads. “When health programs for women with low incomes cover birth control and abortion—not just childbirth—and people can plan if and when to have children, it’s good for them and for society as a whole.”
At a time like this, more progressive movements like the EACH Woman Act are key to ensuring that all kinds of people will still be represented in the United States’ new government. Although Trump may not have reacted publicly to the Democratic request yet, hopefully he’s reasonable enough to work with the Democrats to help equal health coverage happen for all.