On Thursday, the House Committee on Appropriations met for the markup of FY2022 appropriations bills. Noticeably absent were any Hyde Amendment provisions in the budget language.
During today’s markup, Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) noted, “The most egregious aspect of the bill presented today is the removal of the Hyde Amendment, which protects lives and prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion.”
Representative Cole introduced an amendment to restore the Hyde Amendment language which failed in a nearly straight party-line vote. All Republican members of the committee voted for the amendment as did one Democrat, Henry Cuellar of Texas. All other Democrat members of the committee voted against the amendment.
“The elimination of the Hyde Amendment by pro-abortion Democrats destroys over 40 years of previously unprecedented bipartisan support for a measure aimed at saving human lives,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “This is a campaign by pro-abortion Democrats to ensure that abortion is available on demand, for any reason, at any time, and paid for with taxpayer dollars.”
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After Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, various federal health programs, including Medicaid, simply started paying for elective abortions. By 1976, the federal Medicaid program was paying for about 300,000 elective abortions annually, and the number was escalating rapidly. An amendment by pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) to prevent federal Medicaid funds from paying for abortions was enacted.
“The Hyde Amendment is widely recognized as having saved over two million American lives since it was first adopted in 1976,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., legislative director of National Right to Life.
Popik continued, “The Hyde Amendment has proven to be the greatest domestic abortion-reduction measure ever enacted by Congress.”
The truth about the Hyde Amendment and taxpayer funding of abortion includes:
- The Hyde Amendment has been renewed each appropriations cycle—with few changes—every year for nearly 40 years.
- The amendment has enjoyed bipartisan support over the years and has been supported by Congresses controlled by both parties as well as by presidents from both parties.
- It was estimated that before the Hyde Amendment took effect, approximately 300,000 abortions were paid for by Medicaid programs.
- In 2020, a Marist poll found that those opposed to federal funding of abortions held firm with 60% of Americans opposed.
- In a 2021 Marist poll conducted in January, those who “oppose using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion”—58% —is solid and consistent with prior polling. What is noticeable is that 65% of Independents and even 31% of Democrats oppose federal funding of abortion.
Also missing from the appropriations bills was Weldon Amendment language which would protect the conscience rights of medical providers and prevent them from being forced to participate in an abortion.
Representative Andy Harris, M.D., told the committee members, “I will tell you as a practicing physician, the Weldon Amendment is incredibly important at protecting people with deeply held conscience and religious beliefs from being forced to participate in something they don’t agree with.”
For more information on the history and background of the Hyde Amendment, visit the NRLC website here.
Some of the comments made by pro-life members of the House Appropriations Committee during today’s hearing can be found here.