On the Hill Updates

On the Hill Updates: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Presidential budget eliminates Hyde Amendment

On May 28, President Joe Biden released a budget proposal eliminating the Hyde Amendment for those enrolled in Medicaid, a historic milestone resulting from decades of advocacy led by women of color. For over forty years, Hyde has pushed time-sensitive, essential abortion care out of reach for countless Americans by discriminating against those struggling to make ends meet. Although Hyde is not permanent law, the amendment has been repeatedly approved in annual appropriations bills and has even emboldened anti-abortion lawmakers to obstruct private insurance coverage of abortion. Now, the Biden administration has fulfilled a key campaign promise by proposing that Congress remove the prohibition on abortion coverage through Department of Health and Human Services programs like Medicaid and the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program. NCJW applauds President Biden’s action to end Hyde, a decision that fits squarely within his racial equity and economic justice priorities — also key priorities for NCJW’s mission to improve the lives of women, children, and families.

  • Take Action! Urge your lawmakers to permanently end Hyde and ensure abortion coverage in federal health plans and programs by supporting the EACH Act (HR 2234/S 1021)!

Federal Courts

SCOTUS dismisses Title X cases; proposal to restore program moves ahead

On May 17, the Supreme Court dismissed a trio of cases American Medical Association v. Becerra, Oregon v. Becerra, and Becerra v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore — surrounding the legality of the Trump administration’s changes to the Title X program. For nearly 50 years, Title X has been the only federal domestic program guaranteeing free or low-cost access to physical exams, prescriptions, STI testing, cancer screenings, contraception, and other critical reproductive health services. But the Trump administration’s devastating changes to the program threatened the health of 4 million patients by prohibiting participating providers from referring patients for abortion services or discussing the full range of pregnancy options. What’s more, the requirement of “clear physical and financial separation” between services funded by the government and any organization that provides or refers patients for abortions forced clinics to close or drop out of the program, creating gaps in coverage and preventing patients from accessing care. Fortunately, the cases challenging the Trump rule are now moot due to the Biden’s administration’s proposal to restore the Title X program and provider network, one of NCJW’s Top Ten Priorities for the First 100 Days. NCJW welcomed this proposal and submitted a comment in support of the new regulation.

Well qualified nominee for Federal Circuit Court of Appeals 

On May 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Tiffany Cunningham to the United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit. Cunningham is a registered patent attorney before the US Patent and Trademark office with over 20 years of experience in patent and intellectual property law and holding both a BS in Chemical Engineering and a law degree. Her confirmation would bring a critical perspective as a trained engineer to a court that deals with technology, science, and medicine issues. NCJW supports Tiffany Cunningham for the Federal Circuit.

Well Qualified Nominees to the Federal Bench

On May 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the nominations of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Courts of Appeals for the DC Circuit (13-9) and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi to the US Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (12-10). The Senate is expected to vote on both nominees around the second week of June. Judge Jackson has a history of supporting reproductive health care, civil rights, disability rights, and labor rights, and Jackson-Akiwumi has spent most of her career as a public defender. NCJW supports Ketanji Brown Jackson and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, who have demonstrated deep commitments to protecting civil rights and ensuring equal access to justice throughout their careers. 

Additional Updates:

#WearOrange for gun safety this weekend

This weekend is Wear Orange Weekend for gun safety. NCJW is proud, once again, to cosponsor National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the Wear Orange Weekend to honor survivors of gun violence and remember those who have senselessly lost their lives due to firearms. Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 — just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. Hadiya’s friends launched #WearOrange, and NCJW has been a partner since its inception. Learn more about how to participate online and in your communities here.

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