The Unintended Consequences of the Hyde Amendment

By Brooke

A new article from Jezebel entitled “Shockingly, Free And More Effective Birth Control Leads To Fewer Abortions,” highlights a study that points out an unexpected and unfortunate consequence of the Hyde Amendment.

Because of the Hyde Amendment, Medicaid can provide absolutely no funds to a woman seeking an abortion. According to Dr. Paula Bednarek in an interview with Reuters Health, the Hyde Amendment also blocks qualifying women from receiving any kind of contraceptive – including one of the most effective contraceptives, an IUD – on the same day and in the same place they received their abortion.

While supporters of the Hyde Amendment may claim it is simple enough to just return to an abortion provider a few days later, another study found that after six months, “more than 90 percent of the women who had immediately gotten their IUD were still using it, versus about three quarters who received a delayed insertion.”

Reuters Health reports that women who are given free IUDs immediately after abortions had drastically reduced rates of repeat abortions in the two years following their first procedure. Their chances of ending up at an abortion provider in the next 24 months went down by 64 percent, in large part thanks to the immediate availability of an IUD.

According to Sam Sonfield of the Guttmacher Institute, IUDs and other similar devices “can go a long way to reducing unintended pregnancies, and as a consequence, abortions.”

It is not only safe for a woman to get an IUD immediately after an abortion or miscarriage, Jezebel reports that such a practice could prevent over 70,000 unintended pregnancies per year.

The Hyde Amendment not only impedes access to abortion for women, it also may have an unexpected effect on the rates of unintended pregnancies and abortions.