By Sarah Wilhelm

While Roe v Wade ensures that abortion is legal in every state, the reality of abortion access today is increasingly dependent upon a woman’s socioeconomic status and geographic location. The average cost of an abortion for a woman up to 12 weeks pregnant is $450 to $600 in the Northwest region, and costs increase markedly after 12 weeks.

The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, ended the use of federal Medicaid funding for abortion, except when the woman’s life would be endangered by a full-term pregnancy, or in cases of rape or incest. As the debate about the direction of health care reform takes off, the Obama administration should recognize the critical importance of repealing this fundamental barrier to women’s access to comprehensive health care.

Fortunately, Washington uses its own funds to cover the cost of abortion procedures for women who qualify for Medicaid. However, women living in neighboring states of Idaho and Oregon have limited government assistance for the cost of their procedures.

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