A group of 36 religious organizations delivered a joint letter to U.S. lawmakers this week asking them to repeal the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to fund abortions.
In the letter dated on Monday, the religious and faith-based pro-abortion groups urged U.S. Senators and Representatives to pass the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (E.A.C.H.), a bill that would repeal bans on abortion coverage in taxpayer-funded government health care programs.
“Specifically, the E.A.C.H. Woman Act would ensure that every woman who receives care or insurance through the federal government will have coverage for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion,” the letter said. “Further, it would prohibit interference by federal, state and local legislators in decisions of private insurance companies to offer abortion coverage, including in the health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.”
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One of the things the bill would do would be to end the Hyde Amendment, a four-decade-old, bipartisan measure that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in Medicaid. The Hyde Amendment has saved more than 1 million children from abortion in the past 40 years.
If overturned, an estimated 33,000 more unborn babies would lose their lives to abortion every year in America. Currently, about 1.1 million unborn babies are aborted legally in the U.S. each year.
The religious groups argued that a woman’s decisions about her pregnancy are “sacred and deeply personal.” They said low-income women, women of color, immigrants, transgenders and young people often are the ones who have the most difficult time paying for an abortion, and the government should give them the resources to have an abortion if they choose to.
They also claimed that opposition to abortion is a religious belief, ignoring the scientific facts about when life begins as well as the diversity of the pro-life movement.
“Our nation is home to people of many different beliefs and religious affiliations; we cannot limit an individual’s religious liberty by enshrining one set of religious beliefs into law,” the letter continued. “We respect the right of each person to make such decisions for themselves, and oppose efforts that seek to interfere or cultivate judgment and shame about these decisions.”
Groups that signed the letter identified as Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Muslim and Jewish. Others included Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and various women’s groups.
Upheld by the Supreme Court, the Hyde Amendment is now a target of abortion advocates who have moved from pro-choice to pro-abortion — forcing Americans not only to accept unlimited abortions before birth but also to pay for them.
This summer, the Democratic Party adopted a radical new platform calling for Hyde to be repealed. Even some Democratic lawmakers said their party’s new pro-abortion platform was too radical. Democrat Hillary Clinton also promised Planned Parenthood that she will make every effort to force taxpayers to fund abortions if elected president.
Polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans also oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. A new Marist poll shows that more than two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including a majority of women and people who identify as pro-choice.
Several pro-life groups have started an awareness campaign called #HelloHyde to celebrate the amendment’s 40th anniversary and explain how it has helped to save lives. The campaign is collecting photos of people who were born through the Medicaid program to show the individuals who have benefited from the life-saving amendment.
“I received Medicaid care as a baby, so the Hyde Amendment is incredibly important to me,” said #HelloHyde spokeswoman Gina Mallica. “Low-income children deserve a chance at life, not a government-subsidized death.”
The 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment will take place on Friday, Sept. 30.