The Democratic Party has made repealing the Hyde Amendment — which prohibits the use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortions — a non-negotiable for its party’s presidential candidates. In fact, presidential candidate Joe Biden, a long-standing supporter of the Hyde Amendment, changed his position just last month after political pressure during the early Democratic debates. But a June 2019 Rasmussen poll of 1,001 American voters suggests that this position is out of touch with a majority of American citizens. The survey found that when asked specifically about the Hyde Amendment, fully 57% of those surveyed actually favored keeping it.
There are some exceptions to the rider, added in 1994, in which federal Medicaid dollars may pay for abortions: when the life of the mother is at risk as well as in cases of rape and incest. But the truth is, abortion — the deliberate and intentional act of killing a human in the womb — is never medically necessary, and those conceived in rape or incest are equally as worthy of life as anyone else.
NEW: Biden drops support for Hyde Amendment restricting abortion funding after criticism
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 7, 2019
Overall, 30% of those surveyed wanted the Hyde Amendment repealed, and 12% were unsure. Predictably, support or opposition fell largely along party lines. 86% of Republican voters surveyed supported it, while only 39% of Democratic voters wanted it kept in place. Additionally, younger voters were more likely to want the Amendment repealed, with 48% of voters under age 35 holding this view.
The survey also asked voters more generically whether the government should pay for abortions “in limited circumstances or never.” 47% wanted government coverage for abortion only in limited circumstances, and an additional 31% did not favor government payment for abortions in any situation. The survey noted that these findings, totaling 78% of those surveyed, are in keeping with the current status of abortion laws and restrictions in this country. The final 22% of respondents who wanted government coverage for abortion in any case represent a desire for laws not yet on the books.
The Hyde Amendment is not actually a law; it’s a rider added to an appropriations bill (a bill proposing where certain federal funds will go for the year) for the department of Health and Human Services. It was first introduced by Illinois Representative Henry Hyde in 1976, just 3 years after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and it has been renewed every year since.
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