Guest Column

48 U.S. senators promise to oppose any bill that funds abortion

Congress

(National Review) In a letter this morning to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), 48 Republican senators have pledged to oppose any spending bill that does not contain the Hyde amendment or other pro-life protections.

Since 1976, Hyde has been added on a bipartisan basis to federal spending bills to prevent taxpayer money from directly reimbursing abortion providers for the cost of elective abortions.

Today’s letter — a copy of which was provided exclusively to National Review — was spearheaded by Montana senator Steve Daines, who founded and chairs the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, and its signatories include every GOP senator aside from Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska).

“Abortion is not health care; rather, it is a brutal procedure that destroys the life of an innocent unborn child,” the letter states. “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.”

It goes on to cite a recent survey showing that most Americans, including a third of Democrats and those who call themselves pro-choice, oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

The letter follows a similar one from House Republicans to congressional leadership, spearheaded by the Republican Study Committee and its chairman, Indiana representative Jim Banks. In that letter, 200 House Republicans pledged to vote against any legislation that fails to include Hyde.

“We have a message for Democratic leader Schumer: We will vote to block any radical, pro-abortion agenda,” Daines said in a statement today to National Review. “That includes any bill that undermines the Hyde amendment and other longstanding pro-life protections.”

Because the letter received the signatures of 48 Republicans in the Senate, pro-life lawmakers have the votes to filibuster any legislation that isn’t considered under reconciliation.

READ: 200 members of Congress stand against attempt to force taxpayers to fund abortion

Until 2016, politicians in both parties supported Hyde as a conscience protection for pro-lifers. But in 2016, the Democratic Party platform explicitly demanded taxpayer funding of abortion, and nearly every politician competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination promised to oppose Hyde.

No president has ever vetoed a spending bill over its inclusion of Hyde, and Barack Obama included the provision in his proposed budgets during his presidency.

“There’s nothing unifying about using taxpayer money to fund abortions,” Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) 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.”

“Democrats are determined to use their razor-thin majorities in Congress to destroy pro-life protections like the Hyde Amendment,” Arkansas senator Tom Cotton said. “Republicans are committed to stopping their scheme so federal dollars are never used to harm unborn babies.”

“A clear majority of Americans support the Hyde amendment,” Sasse added. “Joe Biden pretty much summed it up when he said that ‘those of us who are opposed to abortions should not be compelled to pay for them.’”

All 48 senators who signed today’s letter have pledged “to 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.”

Editor’s Note: This article was published at National Review and is reprinted here with permission.

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