Let's Talk about Harris v. Mcrae
Chances are, you haven't heard about it
Chances are, you haven't heard about Harris v. Mcrae. You have probably heard of the Hyde Amendment, the 1976 legislation prohibiting the use of federal funds (Medicaid, Medicare, the Indian Health Service and the Children’s Health Insurance Program) to pay for abortion, except when it's considered necessary to save the life of the pregnant person, or in cases of rape and incest. Harris v. Mcrae is a far lesser known 1980 case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights which proposed that the Supreme Court revisit the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment. The court declined to do so, holding that Medicaid was not obligated to fully fund abortions, and people seeking abortions were not entitled to public funding for them.
This month (July 2020), House Democrats decided to continue to uphold Hyde, making abortion inaccessible for low income people who can get pregnant. In other words, Hyde is effectively an abortion ban, and while Harris v. Mcrae probably isn't well known outside of legal communities, it's essential to understand that its support of Hyde plays a crucial role in the continuing criminalization of poverty and how it disproportionately impacts people of color.
Abortion funds connect people who are pregnant and do not want to be with the means to access abortion care. Some funds provide financial support for the abortion itself, others provide transportation, child care, and other travel expenses. In the midst of COVID-19, abortion funds are more important than ever, as people struggle to cope with a lack of child care, changing financial realities, and the virus's overwhelming impact on communities of color.
If you're a lawyer or a law student, you can take action for reproductive rights and justice with If/When/How, and/or connect with All Above All to help end Hyde. And of course, spread the word about abortion pills, which could be the answer for folks looking to self managed their own abortions for a number of reasons: they can't access a clinic, are not in a situation where they feel safe letting those around them know they're seeking abortion care, they just plain don't want to go to a clinic, and any other reason they have, because all reasons for seeking and getting abortions are good reasons. Check out our FAQs for more details about abortion pills, how to get them, how they work, and more.