The not-so-secret racism behind PA’s strict abortion laws

Roe may be in jeopardy, but for many women abortion was never accessible anyways.

By M. K. Fain

“I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”

In 1977 Henry Hyde made this statement to his congress during a debate on Medicaid funding. Despite the fact that this policy is blatantly classist, racist, and cruel, it set the stage for the next half-century of abortion access following Roe v. Wade (1973).

In Philadelphia, a seemingly progressive stronghold, abortion access is still largely limited to those who can afford it. Poor women, who are disproportionately women of color, are simply not able to afford the cost of an abortion, which can range from $400 — $3000 depending on other complications. This should not be surprising considering the 2018 report from the Federal Reserve which found that 40% of American families could not afford a $400 emergency.

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