Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said that this is “the last year” for the Hyde Amendment, which sharply limits taxpayer funding of abortion. DeLauro will head the House Appropriations Committee in January and will seek to eliminate the amendment.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits those with government insurance, such as Medicaid, from using taxpayer funding for abortion in most states. As head of the House Appropriations Committee, DeLauro can push for leaving the Hyde Amendment out of the next spending bill. That spending bill would have to pass the Senate, which is currently controlled by Republicans, who support the amendment.
At a hearing regarding the Hyde Amendment on December 8, DeLauro said,
“This is the last year. The time has come in this current moment to reckon with the norm, with the status quo….The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory policy. Now is the time to empower all women to make deeply personal life decisions without politicians inserting themselves into the doctor’s office.”
Regarding attempts to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said, “The Republican caucus would resist it. We’ve had the Hyde Amendment a long time. And I think it’s pretty clearly embedded in the fabric of our legislation. I support the Hyde Amendment.”
DeLauro claims the Hyde Amendment adversely affects “communities of color.” She said,
“While the Labor/HHS/Education bill has carried the Hyde Amendment every year since 1976, this is the last year. The inequities in our country’s healthcare system that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic all further expose the impact of the Hyde Amendment. All of these issues deny the humanity of people of color and their ability to do well for their families and their communities.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who voiced his “unwavering support” for the Hyde Amendment, had a different perspective. He said the amendment has “saved the lives of over 2 million people since it was first adopted in 1976, most of them people of color. Before the enactment of this provision, the Federal Medicaid program was paying for nearly 300,000 abortions annually.”
Abortion supporters claim that abortion is necessary for women, especially minority women, to achieve economic equality. Christina Bennett, director for the pro-life Family Institute of Connecticut, countered that repealing the Hyde Amendment would not solve the issues facing minority communities. “Free abortions are not in the best interest of our community,” she said. “We need health care, better housing, paid leave, affordable day care. Abortion on demand is a band-aid to the wound of economic health disparities that cause women to seek abortion.”
Joe Biden, who for decades supported the Hyde Amendment, flip-flopped his position and called for its removal during his presidential campaign. He said that Republican states “are denying the poorest and vulnerable Americans” access to healthcare and stated, “I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to…exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”
If Republicans retain control of the Senate following the Georgia runoff elections, they will be able to block the push by Democrats to remove the amendment. If Republicans lose control, they will be able to use the filibuster, which would require Senate Democrats to garner at least 60 votes to stop it.
DeLauro claims that abortion is a deeply personal decision that should be made “without politicians inserting themselves into the doctor’s office.” Abortion supporters often say, “My body, my choice,” or more crudely, “Stay out of my uterus.” If abortion supporters want politicians to stay out of their decision, then don’t use taxpayer funds to pay for a procedure that many consider murder.
Democrats may argue that taxpayer funds are often used for things that not all taxpayers agree with, but that is not an excuse to force taxpayers to fund a “deeply personal decision” that results in the taking of another life and is reprehensible to a large swath of the country.
The claim by abortion supporters, including Biden, that repealing the Hyde Amendment protects the “most vulnerable” or promotes equality is absurd. Funding the killing of more minority babies does not deny the “most vulnerable” healthcare, it denies them life. Babies in the womb are the most vulnerable of all. It is fallacious, patronizing, and racist to assume that the only way minority women can achieve economic prosperity is through unfettered abortion access funded by taxpayers.
During COVID-19, Democrats have supported shutting down the economy and anyone who opposes this policy is attacked and slandered as not caring if people die or valuing money over people’s lives, even though the overwhelming majority of people who contract COVID-19 recover. Yet when it comes to abortion, Democrats value supposed economic benefits over the lives of children.