Ignoring the majority of Americans, including many Democrats, who oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, House Democrats confirmed their plans this week to end the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to pay for the killing of unborn babies.
The Washington Post reported about Democrat leaders’ plans, noting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports ending the Hyde Amendment and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said taxpayer-funded abortions are a priority.
The Hyde Amendment is a long-standing, bipartisan measure that prohibits taxpayer funding for elective abortions in Medicaid and other federal programs. Pro-life researchers estimate it has saved at least 2.4 million babies from abortion, and polls consistently show that Americans support it.
Democrat leaders are framing the issue as a matter of racial and economic justice. Their argument is based on the idea that women need to be able to abort their unborn babies to succeed, and poor women, many of the black and Latino, may not be able to afford abortions on their own. However, their argument ignores that black women already have a disproportionately high number of abortions compared to other racial groups.
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Meanwhile, resistance from Republicans and Democrats is growing.
In an op-ed at The Hill, Democrats for Life of America leaders Terrisa Bukovinac and Xavier Bisits called out their party leaders for quietly including taxpayer-funded abortions in a COVID-19 relief bill.
“As Democrats and liberals, we are appalled that members of our party are using a bill as important as this one to repeal a compromise that 6 in 10 American women support,” they wrote. “Introducing such a divisive policy is a poor platform for building national unity.”
They pointed to polls that consistently show most Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for the killing of unborn babies in abortions, including many Democrat voters. These include recent polls from Marist and Harvard University/Politico. According to Marist, six in 10 Americans (60 percent) oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, while the Harvard poll found that 58 percent oppose it.
What’s more, research suggests low-income women do not want taxpayer-funded abortions. According to the Harvard/Politico poll, voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of ending the Hyde Amendment (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor). In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are the ones who oppose it the most.
Bukovinac and Bisits warned Democrat leaders that pushing taxpayer-funded abortions will turn away voters.
“The Hyde Amendment is so popular that its repeal could frustrate the entire Democratic legislative agenda: from climate change to health care reform,” they wrote. “As Democrats, we also believe that repealing the Hyde Amendment is bad policy. Along with 78 percent of Democrats, we believe that laws can protect both the health and well-being of the mother, as well as the life of the pre-born child.”
Democrat leaders also are seeing resistance from some of their own party members. Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a pro-life Democrat from West Virginia, said that he will continue to support the Hyde Amendment.
“Repealing the Hyde amendment would be foolish and I’m strongly opposed to this push from some Members of Congress,” Manchin told National Review. “If this legislation is brought before the Senate I will vote against repealing the Hyde amendment.”
Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate also have sent letters to Democrat leaders in recent weeks vowing to oppose legislation that forces taxpayers to fund abortions.
Democrats narrowly control Congress and President Joe Biden supports their goal of ending the Hyde Amendment.
Research by Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Dr. Michael New estimates the Hyde Amendment has saved about 2.4 million babies from abortions. Prior to the amendment, in the 1970s, Americans paid for about 300,000 unborn babies’ abortion deaths each year, according to a report from the Family Research Council.
If Democrats end the Hyde Amendment, Americans could be forced to pay for 60,000 elective abortions through Medicaid as well as through insurance to Peace Corps volunteers, federal workers and military members. Currently, the amendment prohibits taxpayer funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life.
ACTION ALERT: Contact U.S. House lawmakers.