A pregnant American woman on Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for the poor, is covered if she goes into labor and has a baby. But if she opts to have an abortion, she’s on her own. A policy called the Hyde Amendment restricts government funding of abortion through Medicaid in most cases.
And in this, the U.S. is an outlier: Most other governments that allow abortion also publicly fund it in some way, according to an analysis of 80 countries published Friday in the journal Contraception. Just 21 nations, including the likes of Belarus, Bahrain, and Kyrgyzstan, provide as little government support for abortion care as the U.S. does.
For the study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and Ibis Reproductive Health examined countries where abortion is generally legal upon request.
Eleven provided no funding for abortion, and 10, including the U.S., only provided funding in “limited,” or exceptional, cases. In the U.S., abortions can be covered by Medicaid in cases of rape or incest, or when the woman's life is in danger.
Thirty-four of the countries provided full government funding of abortion, and 25 more provided what the study authors called “partial” support, or funds only for poor women or in public clinics.