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Health Resource Center

The Politics of Women's Health

Medicaid Coverage of Abortion and Other Reproductive Health Services

Medicaid is a state-federal partnership that pays for health care services to certain low-income individuals, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Each state administers its Medicaid program within the guidance of federal law and regulations. States and the federal government share the cost of the program. Beneficiaries must meet various restrictions, such as income or medical need, and Medicaid programs and eligibility varies from state to state.

Access to abortion services can be especially problematic for women who are dependent upon Medicaid. The Hyde Amendment, enacted in 1976, denies federal Medicaid coverage of abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

However, because each state runs its own Medicaid program, some states use state-only funds to cover abortions under a wider range of circumstances. Coverage in these state programs varies based on the state and also on whether the woman is a citizen or a qualified or unqualified immigrant. For the most up-to-date information on which state Medicaid programs cover abortions, see statehealthfacts.org, a website from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Written by: Our Bodies Ourselves
Last revised: April 2011

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