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Oxford University Press




The CARES Act, a two trillion-dollar stimulus bill designed to fund the response to COVID-19 and address the many economic shortfalls created by the pandemic, offered the first arena for Democrats and Republicans to bring questions of abortion access into the COVID-19 response. Republicans successfully pushed for the application of the abortion restrictions to CARES Act funding vis-à-vis the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 as part of an appropriations bill and has been passed as a rider every year since. It prevents federal dollars from being used to access abortions except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk or in cases of rape or incest. The CARES Act incorporates the Hyde Amendment through reference to Public Law 116-94,1 the appropriations act that limits federal funding on abortion. The restrictions on funding apply to the supplemental awards for health centers2 as well as the coronavirus relief funds.3 These provisions allow for the expansion of the Hyde Amendment into the COVID-19 response including for healthcare providers involved in detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.4

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