Senate Democrats have submitted a bill to fund the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments and, for the first time in decades, it does not include the Hyde Amendment. A rider that has been added to every appropriations bill since 1976, the Hyde Amendment bans federal taxpayer funding of abortion and has typically enjoyed heavy support from voters. Yet Democrats have in recent years made it their mission to repeal Hyde, officially adding it to the party’s platform in 2016.
The Hill reported that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy introduced the bill on Monday and that it not only has scrapped Hyde, but removed the Weldon Amendment as well. The Weldon Amendment protects pro-life health care organizations from being penalized for not providing funding for abortion.
Sen. Patty Murray released a statement celebrating the omission of the Hyde Amendment, calling it an issue of health care.
“Every single person deserves to make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenting — but right now, the unacceptable reality is that the choices available to you still depend on your income, your zip code, or how you get your health insurance,” she said. “Right now, too many people can’t exercise their right to an abortion because of federal abortion coverage restrictions, or can’t afford the family planning services they need. That’s unfair and unjust — especially for women who have low incomes and people of color. We’ve got to do better.”
Abortion, of course, is not health care, because health care does not intentionally kill human beings. And as a recent letter sent to Congressional leadership pointed out, Americans do not support taxpayer-funded abortion, and until recently, the Hyde Amendment had bipartisan support. The letter read:
Repealing these pro-life provisions would destroy nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus. Each year since 1976, Congress has included Hyde protections in annually enacted appropriations. No president in American history has ever vetoed an appropriations bill due to its inclusion of the Hyde Amendment.
Moreover, President Obama maintained the Hyde Amendment in each of his budget proposals. As recent as June 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment and acknowledged that it works harmoniously with federal funding for women’s healthcare.
It later says, “Years of public polling indicate that repealing the Hyde Amendment is opposed by most of the American public. Congressional Democrats now seek to further erode public trust in government by ignoring mainstream public opinion in favor of placating the radical Left.”
This extremism could prove to be too much, even for some Democrats. Sen. Joe Manchin is reportedly threatening to leave the Democratic Party, and said he won’t support any legislative package that doesn’t keep the Hyde Amendment. Meanwhile, pro-life Democrats have been rallying to save Hyde, which is estimated to have saved millions of lives.
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