The UUWF has joined 110 religious, religiously-affiliated, values-based, and faith-centered organizations and communities -- representing millions of people of faith and conscience committed to securing universal access to affordable health coverage including coverage for abortion care -- in expressing our strong and unequivocal support for the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, which was just introduced in the House of Representatives.
For over 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has pushed time-sensitive, essential abortion care out of reach for countless Americans by discriminating against those struggling to make ends meet. Now, the measure not only denies abortion coverage through Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but also extends to federal employees and dependents, military personnel and dependents, Peace Corps volunteers, indigenous peoples
receiving care from federal or tribal programs, pregnant individuals in federal prisons and detention centers, pregnant individuals receiving care from community health centers, and survivors of human trafficking. The EACH Act would permanently end Hyde and related coverage bans while prohibiting political interference in private insurance coverage of abortion at all levels of government. Currently, abortion care is banned in at least 13 states with more restrictions on the horizon. In this anti-abortion environment, it is even more essential that everyone is able to make their own decisions about our health care and futures, and to thrive in their communities with dignity.
Indeed, coverage bans further enshrine systemic racism in our federal laws and regulations and strip the poor of access to abortion, disproportionately impacting those struggling financially; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities; young people; people living with disabilities; rural communities; immigrants; and LGBTQ individuals. People in the United States are facing severe economic duress compounded by a growing health crisis and firmly institutionalized racism; we cannot afford to further wrong the most vulnerable. As people of faith and conscience, we believe in the inherent dignity and equal worth of all people. We are, therefore, called to treat all individuals with respect, no matter their income, insurance, gender, race, or other factors.
We also believe in the power of compassion to build a just and fair society. Our nation is at its best when our laws match our compassion. A compassionate nation ensures that every single person can access quality, timely medical services from trusted providers when they seek abortion care — regardless of how much they earn, how they are insured, or where they live. Because of our faith traditions, consciences, and deep respect for an individual’s moral agency, we support policies grounded in compassion that protect each person’s right to care for their own body, health, and well-being and to ensure all others can do the same.
Finally, religious freedom is an essential shared principle undergirding our support of policies that ensure equitable access to abortion. The United States is home to people of many different faiths as well as people with no religious affiliation. We cannot limit an individual’s religious liberty by enshrining one set of beliefs into law and restricting their ability to make personal decisions about their pregnancy, health, and family according to their own religious or moral beliefs and conscience. No government committed to human rights and democracy can privilege one religion over another.
Eschewing insurance coverage bans is a moral good. No one should be denied an abortion because of who they are, where they live, or how much they earn. It is long past time for our elected officials to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and all bans that interfere with people receiving the care they need. We welcome the introduction of the EACH Act and encourage you to support this critical legislation.
A PDF of this letter, with the full list of signatures, is available here.