Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Winter 2018


This thesis is an examination of the effects of the Hyde Amendment on lower-income people in the State of Maine seeking abortion care. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, prohibits any federally funded insurance from covering abortion services unless the pregnancy results from sexual assault or incest, or if the pregnancy places the pregnant person’s life in danger. This thesis aims to examine how not having an abortion covered by insurance exaggerates other financial obstacles to receiving abortion care. Through a literature review and survey data collected from a local sexual and reproductive health care center this paper explores how travel costs, food insecurity, childcare, and keeping an abortion secret affect lower-income people in the State of Maine who rely on Medicaid, a federally funded insurance. The survey data was collected from the Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor, Maine. Staff distributes an anonymous survey to each abortion client and the data have been compiled throughout the years. These data were last updated in 2015 and 158 patients responded to the survey. The data show keeping an abortion a secret, travelling more than 20 miles, and finding childcare were obstacles that made it more difficult to access an abortion. The data also demonstrate that the burden of financing the procedure affects some patients’ ability to pay other monthly bills. This study provides a lens through which we can examine the ways that abortion is disproportionately difficult to access.