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February 26, 1982

Effect of the Hyde Amendment

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1128. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330024018

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To the Editor.—  The article by Willard Cates, Jr, MD, "The Hyde Amendment in Action" (1981; 246:1109), represents a common misuse of statistical analysis and abuse of scientific "objectivity" to support a clearly political position. To his credit there is no misstatement of fact in the article, but there is a subtle distortion of data presentation that facilitates a misleading conclusion.Given the data as presented, it is easy to follow Cates' conclusion that the Hyde Amendment has had only a "minor impact on Medicaid-eligible women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies." Dr Cates has based his conclusion on an analysis of the total population of Medicaid-eligible women with unwanted pregnancies. However, 85% of these women were unaffected by the Hyde Amendment because they lived in states that continued to provide funding for abortion. If, as Cates did, one includes these women with the 15% who did not have access