Dozens of pro-life organizations wrote congressional leaders pushing for preservation of the Hyde Amendment as President Joe Biden’s FY22 budget was imminent. In a May 27 letter to U.S. House and Senate leadership the groups urged retention of Hyde and other longstanding pro-life riders to be included in the forthcoming budget.
Named for the late Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, the Hyde amendment, is a longstanding federal policy enacted in the 1970’s following the Roe vs. Wade ruling that bans the use of taxpayer funds for most elective abortions, with exceptions for cases involving rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
The leaders from the 62 national and state-level organizations expected that the riders, must be added yearly through the appropriations process, would not be included in the Biden budget, according to national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, which led the groups in sending the letter. The budget was expected the following day, May 28.
The pro-life groups said in the letter that the pro-life appropriations amendments are “critical longstanding policies that respect the dignity of the unborn and conscience of taxpayers.”
“A strong majority of Americans support the first Hyde Amendment,” the letter said, “with 58% of voters – including 31% of Democrats, 34% of self-described pro-choice voters, and 65% of Independents – opposing taxpayer funding of abortion.”
“These lifesaving provisions across federal appropriations have been consistently supported by Republicans and Democrats in Congress for decades,” it continued. “Every president from Carter to Bush to Obama to Trump have signed into law appropriations incorporating critical, status quo protections.”
Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey welcomed the effort to protect Hyde Amendment. Heartbeat International is all about pregnancy help and women's help, Godsey said, and the fight to preserve Hyde a necessary battle for legislative protections.
"Too few people understand the importance of the Hyde Amendment in protecting lives,” he said. “Our politicians need to stand strongly to protect taxpayers from funding abortions just as readily as the pregnancy help movement stands to help women not need an abortion."
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“We are grateful for our legislative friends to champion the Hyde Amendment," Godsey said.
The pro-life letter to Congressional leaders states further in part:
“As recently as 2006, then-Senator Biden was on the record opposing tax funding of abortion, saying, ‘I do not vote for funding for abortion… I won’t support public funding.’ Yet when on the presidential campaign trail in 2019, he flip-flopped to support abortion funding, directly contradicting his longstanding position.
“The impact of more than 2.4 million lives saved as a result of Congressman Hyde’s amendment and those amendments that followed cannot be measured. Congress has the duty and privilege to continue this legacy of protecting the vulnerable.”
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser weighed in, attesting in a statement to the Hyde Amendment’s impact and the need for it to be kept in force.
“For more than four decades, the Hyde family of pro-life policies has kept American taxpayers out of the abortion business, with Hyde itself saving nearly 2.5 million lives,” she said. “The Biden budget could put longstanding, bipartisan pro-life amendments on the chopping block, and Congress must fight back.”
“We encourage our allies to be tireless in fighting to preserve the common ground Hyde principle and to reject any budget that omits vital pro-life protections,” Dannenfelser said.
Operation Rescue was among the groups calling for Congress to protect the Hyde Amendment.
“We are asking Congress to do the right thing and respect the long-standing policies that prohibit American tax-payers from funding abortions against their wills and their consciences,” said the group’s President Troy Newman. “The people of America do not approve of their tax dollars funding abortion. The Biden-Harris Administration is completely out of touch with the American people on this matter.”
“Operation Rescue urges pro-life supporters to contact their Congressmen and urge them to include the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life protections in the upcoming budget,” Newman added.
The pro-life group established a website, Hyde Saves Lives, with scientific, legal, and academic resources on the Hyde amendment and the approximately two dozen related federal policies at risk from the Biden-Harris administration.