Hillary Clinton's record on reproductive rights is clear. In addition to consistently voting in favor of a woman's right to choose, she has previously noted that she believes abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."
At the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Monday, the presidential candidate said she supports congressional efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment, legislation that withholds federal Medicaid funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment, Fusion reported. Clinton clarified her support in a follow-up interview with Fusion's Anna Holmes:
"I've been against Hyde for years because I think it deprives low-income women from being able to access the full range of reproductive health services, and I don't think that's fair or appropriate," Clinton said.
The facts back Clinton up. For decades, the Hyde Amendment has prevented Medicaid from paying for abortions, even when a pregnancy puts a woman's health at risk. According to Planned Parenthood, 12.5 million women ages 19 to 64 receive Medicaid coverage, and policies that limit abortion access disproportionately affect low-income women.
If repealing the amendment as president, however, proves "difficult, as it very well could," Clinton said she would turn to Planned Parenthood and expand the services the organization provides.
"I'm obviously not only against defunding Planned Parenthood, but I would like to see Planned Parenthood even get more funding because oftentimes it is both the first and last resort for health care," Clinton said. "We will have to do whatever we can to provide access to quality, affordable health care that includes the full range of reproductive health, including safe and legal abortion."
Though it has faced numerous attacks historically, especially in the past year, millions of Americans rely on Planned Parenthood. In addition to abortion services, the organization provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests, nearly 500,000 breast exams and nearly 4.5 million STI-related tests each year, according to their website.
What's more, the majority of Planned Parenthood's patients have few other options: 79% of the organization's patients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Also, a 2009 Guttmacher Institute report found that the majority of low-income women consider family-planning centers like Planned Parenthood their primary health care provider.
In addition to low-income women, women of color are also disproportionately impacted by lack of public funding for abortion. In fact, nearly 50% of Latinas and 70% of black women in the United States live where there is no public funding for abortion coverage, the Fusion video noted. It's a point of which Clinton is well aware.
"It's very clear that for women of color, Planned Parenthood is the go-to place," Clinton said. "Where it is being shut down, and it is being in so many ways made more difficult to access, the people who are going to suffer the most are low income women of color." She also said it's crucial to strategize about what more we can do.
Clinton's support seems to be a promising asset — and one that the millions of voters who do depend on Planned Parenthood will likely consider.