This week, Congress will begin discussing H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. This bill would effectively make the Hyde Amendment permanent. A similar bill passed the House in 2015, but failed to pass the Senate.
The bill would ban federal funding of abortions, as well federal funding for health benefits plans that cover abortions. It would also ban federal facilities and federal employees from providing abortions. Nothing in the bill would prevent non-federal organizations from providing funding or coverage for abortion.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to end taxpayer funding of abortion by making the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment is a provisional rider that has been added to an appropriations bill every year since 1976. With this move, banning taxpayer funding for abortion would be its own, permanent, law. And while Democrats went the opposite direction — putting the overturning of Hyde into their official platform — they were opposed by pro-life party members. Planned Parenthood has also lobbied to have Hyde overturned.
The truth is, Americans favor ending taxpayer funding for abortion, including the majority of low-income Americans. Altogether, roughly 7 out of 10 Americans do not want taxpayer dollars going towards abortion, so this bill is clearly something that the people want.
While this bill is a good step forward, it does not completely ban all federal funding for abortion; there are exceptions in cases of rape or incest, and if the life of the mother is in danger. The problem with these exceptions is that they do not make abortion acceptable in any way. A child who is conceived in incest did nothing wrong and does not deserve a death sentence because of her parents’ mistakes; the answer to healing from rape is not more violence. Live Action President Lila Rose addressed this very issue in a debate on CNN with NARAL President Ilyse Hogue:
The other exception, that abortion can be federally funded if the life of the mother is at risk, is a popular talking point — particularly from pro-abortion activists — but the reality is, abortion is never medically necessary to save a mother’s life. Over 1,000 medical experts testified to this fact, as did Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, in the following video:
Live Action President Lila Rose released a statement praising Congress and the Trump administration for making pro-life legislation a priority:
The House’s timing for this bill at the beginning of President-elect Trump’s term shows that life-affirming legislation is getting the priority it deserves after eight years of hitting a brick wall on President Obama’s desk. Two million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment, which is why it not only needs to be made permanent law, but also expanded. As it exists today, Hyde still doesn’t protect our most vulnerable children, including those conceived in rape or incest. It also perpetuates the deadly myth that abortion – the direct killing of a child – is a medical treatment for the health challenges a mother may face.
When compared with highway, workplace, and child safety laws, Hyde is one of the most successful life-saving policies in U.S. history, which is why it’s so despicable that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry repeatedly lobby against it.
Expanding Hyde and putting it into law would be a good first step. It still won’t prevent Planned Parenthood from getting over half a billion dollars a year from taxpayers to keep its doors open and abort over 320,000 children each year. That’s why I look forward to Congress also stripping taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and redirecting it to thousands of community health centers instead.