by Steven Ertelt
October 30, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Former member of Congress Henry Hyde will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom next Monday for his work opposing abortion. For decades, after his landmark Hyde Amendment stopped federal funding of virtually all abortions, Hyde became the pro-life movement’s elder statesman on Capitol Hill.
Hyde was first elected to the House in 1974 and served as chairman of the House International Relations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001.
In those positions, Hyde advanced pro-life legislation and worked to stop using taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortions in other countries.
Hyde’s lasting legacy will be the federal Hyde amendment, which has prevented federal tax dollars from being used to fund almost all abortions since the 1976. The Supreme Court heard a case in 1980 challenging the law and upheld it as constitutional.
In a statement about Hyde, the White House said he has "served America with distinction."
"During his career in the House of Representatives, he was a powerful defender of life and a leading advocate for a strong national defense and for freedom around the world," the Bush administration added.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer has called Hyde one of the "most passionate and articulate advocates in Congress" for the pro-life movement.
"For more than three decades, Henry Hyde has stood strong and unshakable against the growing ‘culture of death’ in America," Bauer said of Hyde.
"He has been an eloquent voice for the voiceless and a great inspiration to all of us who care deeply about the timeless values of faith and family. He never hesitated to speak the truth and always with compassion and conviction," Bauer added.
In comments about his retirement from public office, Hyde, who turned 83 in April, said, "I just want to be remembered as a good man who did some good."
"Father Time and Mother Nature both stalk every one of us, and they finally caught up with me,” Hyde added.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, first established in 1963, is the nation’s highest civil award.
The president gives the award to "any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
President Bush will honor Hyde and other recipients at a White House ceremony on Monday.