Weekly Opinion Editorial
HYDE AMENDMENT UNDER ATTACK!
by Steve Fair
The Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision that bars the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortions, except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy arises from rape or incest. It was passed in 1976 by a vote of 312-93 in the U.S. House. It was named for Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois and has saved an estimated 2.5 million unborn children since it’s inception. It was the first major legislative gain by the pro-life movement after the Roe vs. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court in 1973. Congress has altered the Hyde amendment several times through the years. In 2017, then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wi) passed HR 7, which would have made the Hyde amendment permanent, but it failed to pass the Senate and did not become law. Three observations:
First, the Democratic Party platform calls for the repeal of the Hyde amendment. It was added to the platform in 2016. It says: We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. Democrats believe the American taxpayer should fund abortion- whether they agree with it or not.
Democrats cite statistics that the Hyde amendment disproportionately affects lower income women, saying that 42% of abortion recipients live below the poverty line. In President Biden’s 2021 budget to Congress, he removed the long-standing ban on federal funded abortions. Biden, a lifelong Catholic, supported the Hyde amendment for decades but during the 2020 presidential election he promised he would work to get it repealed. “Women’s rights and women’s health are under assault like we haven’t seen in the last 50 years. If I believe health is a right, as I do, I can no longer support the Hyde amendment,” Biden said during the campaign.
Second, the fight to retain the Hyde amendment will be in the U.S. Senate. With Democrats in control of the U.S. House, it is likely they will vote to repeal the amendment. There are just two pro-life Democrats left in the House. There are only three Democrats in the Senate. Those five are the firewall. It appears the Hyde amendment will not be repealed this year, but the Democratic Party has primaried pro-life members in the past two election cycles, defeating a Democrat pro-life Congressman last year. It makes the 2022 election cycle very important for the unborn.
Third, a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortions. In a January 2021 poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 58% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortions. The poll found 65% of voters registered Independent, 31% registered Democrat and 85% of Republicans opposed. Democrats run the risk of aliening pro-life Democrats if they continue to push for repeal of Hyde.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports there are 11.2 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age in America. There are over 800,000 babies aborted in the United States each year. President Biden says he believes in the right to health care, but the unborn American’s’ ‘right to health care’ is under savage assault. The first shot of the assault is the repeal of the Hyde amendment.