Congressional Democrats defeated Republicans’ attempt Thursday to reinstate a popular, long-standing ban on taxpayer funding for elective abortions in federal spending bills.
During a House Appropriations Committee meeting, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, led Republicans in calling for the Hyde Amendment to be restored.
Cole introduced a measure to add the Hyde Amendment to federal spending bills and “protect the lives of unborn babies and the conscience rights of Americans.” He and other Republicans pointed to polls that consistently show a strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions, including the low-income women whom Democrats claim to want to help.
However, Democrats control Congress, and they easily defeated the amendment. The vote was 27-32 with one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joining Republicans to support the pro-life measure, according to Politico reporter Alice Miranda Ollstein.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer funding for most abortions in Medicaid and other federal programs. It is credited with saving about 2.4 million babies’ lives, and polls consistently show strong public support for it.
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For decades, most Republican and Democrat lawmakers supported the amendment as a regular part of the federal budget. However, Democrat leaders recently abandoned the public on the issue and sided with the billion-dollar abortion industry in supporting taxpayer-funded abortions.
Pro-life leaders slammed House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden for championing the pro-abortion effort.
“Biden-Pelosi Democrats had the chance to foster unity by preserving the Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, popular policies that protect unborn babies and mothers,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Instead, they shamefully doubled down on extremism, throwing out decades of bipartisan consensus.”
Along with the Hyde Amendment, Dannenfelser said Democrats also removed federal anti-discrimination protections for pro-life health care workers and institutions in their new federal spending bills.
During a lengthy debate before the vote, Republican lawmakers urged Democrats to support mothers and babies, not abortions.
“I rise today in support of the unborn … in support of women, girls yet to be born into this world who deserve every single opportunity those of us in this room can give them,” U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said.
Michigan Congressman John Moolenaar slammed Democrats for trying to force hardworking taxpayers to pay for something as abhorrent as killing a child.
“Congress should never allow the money of hardworking taxpayers to be used to end the lives of unborn children. We should continue to protect unborn children and keep the Hyde Amendment,” he said.
After the vote, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy mourned the news.
“Democrats just voted to allow taxpayer-funding of abortions and force health workers to participate,” he responded in a statement. “For 44 years, both parties have agreed the Hyde Amendment is the law of the land. Today the Democrat Party has shown just how radical they have become.”
Polls consistently show that most Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions. A recent Marist poll found that 77 percent of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to promote abortion overseas, and 58 percent oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortions in the United States.
A 2016 Harvard/Politico poll found strong support for the Hyde Amendment as well. It also 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).
A small number of Democrat lawmakers also are standing up for life against their party. Democrats for Life praise Cuellar for his vote Thursday.
“Although the vote failed, Rep. Cuellar went against his entire party and did the right thing,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “Thank you!”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, also has promised to support the Hyde Amendment.
Dannenfelser expressed hope that the pro-abortion spending bills will not pass the U.S. Senate.
“This bill is far too extreme to pass the Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin has promised to support Hyde ‘in every way possible,’” she said. “Pro-abortion Democrats push taxpayer-funded abortion on demand through birth at their own political peril.”
Biden also recently rejected the Hyde Amendment after decades of supporting it. His proposed 2022 budget also would force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has saved an estimated 2.4 million babies’ lives, including about 60,000 each year, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.