Members of Congress come out in support of Hyde Amendment

U.S. Capitol dome, Washington, D.C. Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jan 26, 2021 / 09:30 am (CNA).- Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed a letter supporting bans on taxpayer funding of abortions.

On Tuesday, 197 House Republicans sent a letter to House and Senate leaders of both parties, in support of the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life “riders” that are attached to federal budget bills, prohibiting funding of abortions.

“We write to express our unified opposition to Congressional Democrats’ efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment and other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions,” the letter stated, which was led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chair of the Republican Study Committee.

The provisions in question “generally prevent the federal government from using taxpayer dollars to support abortion procedures,” the members wrote. “Repealing these pro-life provisions would destroy nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus.”

The Hyde Amendment, enacted into law each year since 1976 as part of budget legislation, prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid. Members of both parties—including former Senator Joe Biden—have voted for appropriations bills that included Hyde provisions.

Democrats in recent years have stated their intent to repeal the policy. The 2016 Democratic Party platform called for its repeal, and in 2019 some Democratic members made a last-minute effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment in an appropriations bill, which failed.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden reversed his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in August that she intended not to include the policy in FY 2022 appropriations bills.

In the senate, meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) has vocally supported the Hyde Amendment. Pro-life groups have turned their focus to the moderate senator as a possible vote to oppose pro-abortion policies in the next two years.

Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) supported the Hyde Amendment, in a response to Mark Irons of EWTN News Nightly. Hyde “should not just be a Republican issue. It’s an American issue,” McCarthy stated.

In their letter on Tuesday, the Republican members stated that Hyde is estimated to have resulted in more than two million fewer abortions since 1976, “and continues to protect the conscience rights of a vast majority of Americans opposed to publicly funded abortions.”

In the years after the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, members in Congress fought over whether and to what extent legal abortions should be publicly funded. In 1977, the federal government shut down three times over debates on abortion funding.

The Hyde Amendment had just been enacted in 1976, named after former Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), and has been passed into law each year as a rider to appropriations bills.

Over the years, provisions similar to Hyde have been included in other funding bills under Congress’ jurisdiction, prohibiting funding of abortions at the Defense Department, in health plans for federal employees, in federal prisons, and in the District of Columbia.

Existing pro-life provisions could be at stake in the new Congress, and pro-life groups are expecting that the next COVID relief bill might not have language expressly prohibiting funding of abortions, abortion providers, and abortion coverage.

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  1. As I commented on the CNA article ‘Are changes coming to the Vatican Dicastery for Communications?’ image is everything. Media, in virtual total control of public perception will portray 197 House Republicans nary a Democrat in favor of the Hyde Amendment as monolithic oppressors of minorities and the poor. Whereas the deception is that abortion subjugates the less fortunate to Govt control removing incentive to take control of their lives. If the anticipated new Communications Dicastery director is to shore up the image of Vatican policy or the Pontiff’s personal image it won’t be to sway the Left and the Biden Administration. Pope Francis was against the Wall as was the Left. Not once did the Pontiff laud Trump on his pro life policy and protection of religious rights. If Biden’s election and current videos show pics of a smiling Pope Francis there’s a justification that Trump lacked. Who is the target of a renewed Vatican communications campaign if not the more conservative Catholic, and a world population more concerned with comforting global accommodation than with traditional more justice for the unborn or the family. Can we realistically expect the Vatican to support the 197 House Republicans? There are instead signs of a USCCB renewed willingness to fulfill their roles as defenders of the faith.

  2. Riddle: What is the practical difference between a stable of prostitutes willing to work with backstreet voyeur pimps, and an equal number of main street communications talking heads willing to work up photo-ops for Fr. Martin and now Joe Biden?

    Hint: Other than the chandeliers and prime time, I mean…

    Sidebar: In the local news today (Seattle), a report that after nearly three decades, advanced DNA analysis has identified the bones of the notorious Green River Killer’s 48th victim (14-year old Wendy Stephens of Denver, Colorado), out of a confirmed 49 local victims from the early 1980s (serving a negotiated life term, he claims 70).

    Yes, maybe the USCCB will in fact shine a non-ambivalent light on our morally-derailed world, and on the permanent mob who now occupy the national Capitol? Or, if prime time can still spin this thing, maybe the assailant (Gary Ridgeway) was simply early and on “the right side of history” in the practice of what can be painted not as rape/murder, but as unilateral sexual outreach? Yup, with compassionate accomodation Ridgeway might have stuck to “consenting adults” of the same gender-theory orientation (!), like the successfully embedded lavender mafia.

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