The Medicaid program was initiated to provide federal financial assistance to states that chose to reimburse the costs of certain medical procedures to needy individuals. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment was passed. The Hyde Amendment severely limited the use of federal funds to reimburse for costs associated with abortions. Federal funds would only be available under specified circumstances. The circumstances where federal funding would be permitted include:
- Endangerment of the pregnant woman’s life.
In 1980, the United States Supreme Court found that neither the federal government or any state government is required to fund medically necessary abortions except in circumstances to preserve the life of the mother.
Most states have followed the federal government’s direction with respect to funding of abortions. There are about 18 states that fund abortions for low-income women and about 15 states that provide nondiscriminatory public funding for abortion procedures. The remaining states only provide funding for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is endangered, incest or rape. There are two states that only provide abortion funding if the life of the mother is endangered.
Cost to Taxpayers
Many opponents of state or federally funded abortions have argued that there is a great cost to the taxpayers. However on the other side many proponents have argued that it is much more costly to pay for prenatal care, neonatal care, and other costs associated with delivering a child and bringing a child into the world that the mother and/or father may not or is unwilling to provide for.