Senate committee proposes rollback of pro-life policies

Matt Hadro   By Matt Hadro for CNA

Aug. 17 rally in support of the Hyde amendment in Raleigh, North Carolina / Erin Paré/Twitter

Washington D.C., Oct 18, 2021 / 17:30 pm (CNA).

A Senate committee introduced nine budget bills on Monday that would roll back several pro-life policies, allowing for domestic funding of abortions and funding of international pro-abortion groups.

As part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday released nine bills allocating funding to various federal agencies and programs. The proposals exclude or permanently repeal several pro-life policies, including the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid.

The amendment, first passed in 1976, has to be attached to appropriations bills each year to become law. Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, have targeted the policy for repeal this year, and House in July passed appropriations bills without the policy included.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), seen as a key swing vote in the chamber, stated on Monday that he would not support relevant appropriations bills unless the Hyde amendment was included.

“As I have said numerous times before, I will not vote for legislation that does not include the Hyde Amendment and I fully expect the final spending bill to include that language,” Manchin stated in a press release on Monday.

The policy was excluded from the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies. The Weldon amendment, which blocks funding of state governments that discriminate against people or groups opposed to abortion, was also not included in the bill.

The two amendments “for too long have interfered with millions of peoples’ ability to exercise their constitutional right to abortion,” stated Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

According to appropriations committee vice chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the bills released on Monday targeted other pro-life policies as well; the appropriations bill for the State Department and Foreign Operations permanently repeals the “Mexico City Policy,” which bars funding of international pro-abortion groups.

The Health and Human Services appropriations bill also requires that clinics receiving Title X family planning funding provide abortion drugs, abortion counseling, and abortion referrals. Recently, the Biden administration updated the requirements of the Title X program to allow recipients to provide abortion referrals, but the administration does not require clinics to provide them.

“Democrat senators are marching in lockstep with Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the radical abortion lobby over the will of the American people and the lives of the vulnerable. Not only do they want to expand abortion on demand here at home, but they also want to make the United States the number one exporter of abortions overseas,” stated Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.

Pro-abortion groups on Monday applauded the proposed removal of the pro-life policies.

The Twitter account for Planned Parenthood Action called the bills “historic,” stating, “It’s VERY exciting (a historic shift!) to see bills that end many abortion coverage bans and prioritize funding for family planning/sexual and reproductive health care programs and programs that address the maternal health crisis.”

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