While the new $1.5 trillion spending bill for the federal government promises to place millions into the pockets of Planned Parenthood, pro-life leaders are still celebrating it as a victory. That is because it includes the Hyde Amendment.
First introduced in 1976, the once-bipartisan Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding — taxpayers’ dollars — from going toward abortion, with the exceptions of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. The budget provision or rider, approved annually by Congress, largely impacts Medicaid recipients.
“March for Life applauds the pro-life Senators who successfully fought and voted to maintain all legacy pro-life riders, including the Hyde amendment, in the $1.5 trillion government spending bill,” Jeanne Mancini, the president of the pro-life group, responded in a statement.
A growing number of Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have called for an end to the Hyde Amendment. After decades of backing Hyde, Biden switched his position while running for president. More recently, he made headlines in May after eliminating the provision from his final budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year.
Biden’s action came after the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, the Democratic Women’s Caucus leaders, and other lawmakers urged him in a letter to end the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life policies. In January, 181 pro-life members of the House of Representatives joined in a letter promising to vote against any appropriations or spending bill that did not include pro-life provisions, such as Hyde.
Even though funding in the new, massive government spending bill is generally blocked from going toward abortion, it can still benefit abortion groups, pro-life leaders cautioned.
With the bill, “abortion businesses including Planned Parenthood stand to receive millions,” Mancini told Catholic News Agency, through the more than $286 million allocated for Title X “family planning” funding.
While Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, cannot place the funding toward abortion, pro-life groups frequently make the case that receiving funds for certain services can free up other money for abortion.
In addition to the Title X funding to “keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) previously told The Daily Wire that the massive spending bill includes $575 million for “family planning” internationally, $32.5 million for the abortion-friendly United Nations Population Fund, and $200 million for Biden’s Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund.
Biden recently described his administration’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, as “an ambitious agenda to support women and families through both domestic and foreign policy.” It also promises to protect “safe and legal” abortion.
The 2,741-page bill, which the U.S. House first passed Wednesday, now goes to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. This omnibus — a consolidation of spending bills for the fiscal year 2022 — enables the U.S. government to continue running. It includes a slew of other, unrelated bills and, this year, provides $13.6 billion in emergency aid for the Ukraine crisis.
While Mancini of March for Life acknowledged that “this bill still sends far too many of our tax dollars to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood,” she emphasized that the pro-life riders in the spending bill “will continue to save lives.”
According to Dr. Michael New at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony List, the Hyde Amendment has saved more than 2.4 million lives.
Mancini added that “a consistent majority of Americans say they don’t want to be forced to pay for this life-ending procedure.” She pointed to a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey released in January that found that 54% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion and 73% oppose or strongly oppose using tax dollars to fund abortion services in other countries.
In addition to the Hyde Amendment, the spending bill included the Helms Amendment, which prohibits funding of elective abortion overseas, and the Weldon Amendment, which prevents federal agencies, programs, state governments, and local governments from receiving federal funding if they discriminate against health care entities that do not provide, pay for, cover, or refer for abortions.
Five bishop chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recognized these riders in a statement and applauded Congress “for including provisions in the omnibus appropriations package that uphold the sacred dignity of human life and will support and assist many vulnerable people here and abroad.”
“In particular, we are grateful that Congress has maintained longstanding, bipartisan, and lifesaving provisions including the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon Amendments that prevent our tax dollars from paying for the tragedy of abortion and protect people from having to participate in abortion against their consciences,” said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
Lori is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, along with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, and Bishop Mario Dorsonville.
The above comes from a March 12 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.