48 Senators Pledge to Vote Against Any Democrat Bill That Forces Americans to Fund Abortions

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 5, 2021   |   1:35PM   |   Washington, DC

Following a similar letter from House Republicans in January, 48 Republicans in the U.S. Senate promised Friday to oppose any spending bill that forces taxpayers to fund abortions.

The letter, first reported by National Review, is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a pro-abortion Democrat. It makes clear Republicans’ intentions to fight to preserve the Hyde Amendment for the strong majority of Americans who support it.

The Hyde Amendment, which has been in place since 1976, prohibits taxpayer funding for most abortions in Medicaid and other federal programs. It has saved an estimated 2.4 million babies from abortions, including about 60,000 each year, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

For decades, the Hyde Amendment had strong bipartisan support, and polls consistently show that most Americans still support it. But Democrat leaders – who have close ties to the billion-dollar abortion industry – recently abandoned the popular position on the issue and now want to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Responding Friday, the Republican senators said killing unborn babies in abortions is not health care, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund their deaths.

“Abortion … is a brutal procedure that destroys the life of an innocent unborn child,” they said in the letter. “The Hyde Amendment reflects a consensus that millions of pro-life Americans who are profoundly opposed to abortion should not be coerced into paying for it or incentivizing it with their taxpayer dollars.”

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They referred to a January Marist poll that found 58 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in the U.S. Additionally, 77 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries.

The Senate Republicans told Democrat leaders that they will “vote against the advancement of any legislation that would eliminate or weaken the Hyde Amendment or any other current-law pro-life protections, or otherwise undermine existing federal pro-life policy.”

Republicans in the U.S. House sent a similar letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in January.

Democrats narrowly control Congress and President Joe Biden supports their goal of ending the Hyde Amendment, but Republicans appear to have enough votes to filibuster their attempts. In the U.S. Senate, 48 lawmakers are enough to block certain types of legislation. It was for this same reason that Republicans’ efforts to defund Planned Parenthood did not pass two years ago even though they narrowly controlled the chamber.

Two U.S. Senate Republicans did not sign the letter: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, according to National Review. Collins and Murkowski both are pro-abortion.

Meanwhile, one Democrat, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, could join Republicans in preventing taxpayer-funded abortions. Manchin recently confirmed that he opposes forcing taxpayers to fund abortions.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, said the Hyde Amendment should not be controversial.

“There’s nothing unifying about using taxpayer money to fund abortions,” Sasse told National Review. “Nancy Pelosi and other abortion zealots are trying to wage a culture war so they can get some of Planned Parenthood’s sweet campaign cash. That’s wrong.”

Significantly, a 2016 Harvard/Politico poll found that voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor). In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are more likely to oppose it.

Research by Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Dr. Michael New estimates the Hyde Amendment has saved about 2.4 million babies from abortions. Prior to the amendment, in the 1970s, Americans paid for about 300,000 unborn babies’ abortion deaths each year, according to a report from the Family Research Council.