President Biden’s decision to remove Hyde Amendment protections from his proposed 2021-22 budget represents a failure of his administration to protect the lives of pre-born babies and honor the desire of most Americans to not have their tax dollars used for abortion.
The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, has received bipartisan support from presidents and congressional leaders since it was passed in 1976. The provision, which is attached to the annual appropriations bill, must be approved by Congress each year. Although it has been modified to include an exception for cases of rape and incest, the Hyde Amendment has been successfully passed every year since 1976 – including by pro-choice administrations. Despite this bipartisan support, the Biden Administration is proactively attempting to eliminate it this year.
The Hyde Amendment represents one of the most successful public policy victories of the pro-life movement. In the period between the decision of Roe v. Wade and the passing of Hyde, there were approximately 300,000 abortions performed each year on the Medicaid program. According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), that number represents 25 percent of all abortions during the period between Roe and Hyde.
Abortion is always wrong, and public funds should certainly not be used for the killing and mutilation of pre-born children. The Hyde Amendment tempers that funding stream, promoting a culture of life. Indeed, the Charlotte Loizer Institute estimates that over 2,000,000 pre-born babies in total and 60,000 annually are saved because of the Hyde Amendment.
Furthermore, a recent Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. The American people – especially the majority who oppose public funding of abortion – should not be forced to pay for the killing of pre-born children with their tax dollars. A recent Gallup poll confirms this, showing that 60 percent of Americans think that abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.
Currently, the United States is undergoing a generational shift in favor of the pro-life movement. A recent survey by The Institute for Pro-Life Advancement found that over 70 percent of registered voters aged 18-34 favored some limits on abortion, and 45 percent of those surveyed supported limiting public funding of abortion to only cases of rape, incest, and the endangerment of the mother.
The United States’ pro-life shift is especially evident in the millennial generation, who are measured as more pro-life than the previous generation. The enthusiasm of the pro-life movement can also be seen in the predominance of pro-life student groups on college campuses, which outnumber Planned Parenthood groups 4 to 1. In 2019 the United States saw its lowest abortion rate since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Repealing the Hyde Amendment is contrary to public opinion and threatens to undermine the direction of public opinion, particularly for the younger pro-life generation.
The Colorado Catholic Conference urges federal government leaders to pass a budget that continues to include the Hyde Amendment to protect the lives of pre-born children and honor the will of the people to not publicly pay for abortion.