The online headline on an April 6 column by Mindy Woerter reads: “How the Hyde Amendment preventing abortion coverage hurt my family.” This is a gross misstatement of the law by the editor who wrote the headline.

The Hyde Amendment does not prevent abortion coverage; it bars the use of federal (taxpayer) funds for abortion except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.

Mrs. Woerter relates that an ultrasound of her third pregnancy indicated that her baby inside the womb had a “rare and severe defect that could not be corrected surgically.” After discussing the situation with her physician and her husband, she decided to end the pregnancy after 13 weeks with an abortion. She further says that her husband’s “good insurance” through the federal government would not cover her medical expenses of $7,000.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the cost of a surgical abortion is about $500. Mrs. Woerter’s husband, she says, is an engineer, presumably earning a decent salary. Could they not afford $500 for an abortion?

Contrary to the writer’s understanding, the Hyde Amendment is neither for nor against a government health plan to pay for pregnancies; it says only that the federal government will not pay for abortions, nothing more. Apparently, she expected that the taxpayers would pick up the tab for her pregnancy complications. It seems odd that her husband’s “good insurance” through the government would not pay for all or some of those costs.

Mrs. Woerter doesn’t offer any details as to how the Hyde Amendment “changed (their) lives” or (in the editor’s words) “hurt (their) family.”

I assume that Mrs. Woerter had the abortion, and that she and her family thankfully weathered that family tragedy and are now doing well.


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