Republicans Win An Upset On Hyde Protections. Can Democrats Leave Hyde Where It Belongs?

Republicans Secured A Return To Longstanding Protections Against Taxpayer Dollars Going To Fund Elective Abortions, But Prominent Democrats Are Still Threatening To End Them And 49 Senate Democrats Voted Against Them

The Senate adopted Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) amendment to restore Hyde Amendment protections to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions by a vote of 50-49. (S.Amdt.3792, S.Con.Res.14, Roll Call Vote #336: Amendment Agreed to 50-49: D 1-47; R 49-0; I 0-2; 8/10/2021)

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Since the 1970s, abortion has claimed the lives of more than 60 million unborn children. But at the very, very least, the mainstream, bipartisan Hyde Amendment has ensured that taxpayers’ hard-earned money is not funneled to this brutal practice. A broad, bipartisan coalition agreed the American taxpayer should not be forced to underwrite this nightmare. And by the way, a strong majority of Americans still agree! For decades, nearly his entire career, then-Senator Joe Biden was a reliable supporter of Hyde protections…. But a couple years ago, on the presidential campaign trail, our former colleague changed his tune. He let the demands of the increasingly radical left overcome a principle he’d held for decades. So earlier this year, the President’s budget request obligingly proposed ending this longstanding protection. Yet another way in which the Administration that sold itself as moderate and unifying is now sprinting way to the left. And [now], the House is following through.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/15/2021)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “In today’s Democratic party, there is no room to dissent from the far left’s culture war — even in the most modest, most longstanding, and most widely popular ways. Senate Republicans are going to continue standing up for life, standing up for taxpayers, and standing up for the conscience rights of millions of Americans who don’t want the government laundering their hard-earned money to abortion providers. Republicans will still stand with the majority of the American people, even if our colleagues across the aisle have given in to the most radical voices.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/15/2021)

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “We should all be able to agree—no American should be forced to pay for an abortion through taxpayer dollars. Just because a child is inside the womb does not mean they should be treated any differently by law. My amendment restates the long-term agreement that no taxpayer dollars fund an abortion, and no American should be punished for refusing to participate in an abortion. That should not be controversial.” (Sen. Lankford, Press Release, 8/10/2021)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT), Senate Pro-Life Caucus Chair, and 47 other senators: “The Hyde Amendment is the law of the land, as has been so since 1976. The Hyde Amendment has enjoyed decades of bipartisan support, including from then-Senator Joe Biden, and has been signed into law by Democrat and Republican Presidents alike. We are deeply opposed to efforts to allow taxpayer funding of abortion on demand and eliminate this more than four-decade-old consensus…. We are united in our resolve to guard against any changes to Federal law that would unsettle nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus against taxpayer funding for abortion on demand, or otherwise threaten the lives of unborn children. Accordingly, we are committed to vote against the advancement of any legislation that would eliminate or weaken the Hyde Amendment or any other current-law pro-life protections, or otherwise undermine existing Federal pro-life policy.” (Sen. Daines, Press Release, 2/05/2021)

  • “Abortion is not health care; rather, it is a brutal procedure that destroys the life of an innocent unborn child. The Hyde Amendment reflects a consensus that millions of pro-life Americans who are profoundly opposed to abortion should not be coerced into paying for it or incentivizing it with their taxpayer dollars. A substantial majority of the American public agrees.” (Sen. Daines, Press Release, 2/05/2021)
  • Letter signed by: Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Michael Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Todd Young (R-IN)


After Decades Of Support, Democrats Now Want To Repeal The Hyde Amendment, Which Prohibits Taxpayer Funding Of Abortions

‘For Years, The Hyde Amendment Represented A Rare Point Of Bipartisan Consensus On Abortion In Congress’

“For years, the Hyde Amendment represented a rare point of bipartisan consensus on abortion in Congress, with lawmakers from both parties agreeing that taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions, with some exceptions.” (Time, 6/07/2019)

“Congress passed the first iteration of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, just a few years after Roe v. Wade, attaching it to Medicaid appropriations…. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the amendment in 1980.” (“What Is The Hyde Amendment?,” CBS News, 6/07/2019)

“[T]he amendment that restricts government funding for most abortions has been preserved by Democrats for decades — including with votes from some of the presidential hopefuls now decrying it.” (“Hyde Amendment, Abortion Debate Haunt 2020 Democrats,” The Associated Press, 6/07/2019)

But Now Leading Democrats Vow To ‘Lead The Fight’ To Repeal It

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “I do not think it is good public policy, and I wish we never had a Hyde Amendment, but it is the law of the land right now.” (“Ban On Abortion Funding Stays In House Bill As 2020 Democrats Promise Repeal,” NPR, 6/13/2019)

JOE BIDEN: “I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and their ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe healthcare is a right as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code… For many years as a U.S. senator, I have supported the Hyde amendment as many, many others have because there was sufficient monies and circumstances where women were able to exercise that right, women of color, poor women, women were not able to have access, and it was not under attack … as it is now. But circumstances have changed.” (“Joe Biden Reverses Stance On Hyde Amendment,” ABC News, 6/6/2019)

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Wednesday the decades-old Hyde Amendment shouldn't be law … Warren has called to end the Hyde Amendment and co-sponsors legislation to overturn the ban.” (“Warren: Hyde Amendment Should Not Be American Law,” The Hill, 6/05/2019)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA), Senate HELP Committee Chair: “[Repealing the Hyde Amendment] would help address the unacceptable reality that far too many women, particularly low-income women, young women, women of color, and those who live in rural areas, have the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion in name only—not in practice. I believe that as the Trump Administration and its allies work as hard as they can to take away access to abortion in our country and move women backward, we need to do even more to lay out our vision for ensuring every woman—regardless of how she is insured, her zip code, or her income—can make the decisions that are right for her.” (Sen. Murray, Press Release, 3/13/2019)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): “All women – regardless of their income level or type of health insurance – are deserving of the fundamental right to access the health care they need, including abortion. Unfortunately, for far too many women in this country, that care is out of reach because of cost. The Hyde Amendment, like so many other barriers erected to restrict access to abortion, unequally and disproportionately affects low-income women, women of color, young women, and immigrants. Repealing the Hyde Amendment is a necessary step forward to ensuring all women can equally access their constitutionally-protected right to abortion care.” (Sen. Hirono, Press Release, 3/13/2019)


Sure Enough, Democrats Have Now Begun To Dismantle Hyde Amendment Protections, ‘Pressing Forward On Allowing The Government To Fund Abortions’

“For the first time in decades, congressional Democrats are moving toward scrapping long-standing restrictions on using taxpayer funds for abortions.” (“The Health 202: Democrats Are Pressing Forward On Allowing The Government To Fund Abortions,” The Washington Post, 7/13/2021)

“In his fiscal 2022 budget request, President Biden made official his opposition to the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old ban on federal funding for abortions that he long supported before reversing his stance during the presidential campaign. Biden’s decision to omit the Hyde language from his spending proposal makes good on his campaign promise to get rid of it …” (“Biden Budget Plan Removes Decades-Old Ban On Federal Funds For Abortions,” The Washington Post, 5/28/2021)

“[T]he [House] appropriations subcommittee, which oversees Department of Health and Human Services funding, approved a funding bill without the two amendments that long represented a sort of truce between abortion rights advocates and foes. The best-known of these is the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federally funded programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions, except in a narrow set of circumstances. It has been tacked onto congressional spending measures every year since 1977, and was historically supported by many Democrats including President Biden (who last year flipped on the issue under pressure from abortion rights groups). Somewhat lesser-known is the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from going to any state or local government that discriminates against health-care entities that refuse to provide or refer patients for abortions…. [T]he vote does represent a significant departure from a policy that had allowed two parties with diametrically opposing views on abortion rights to continue funding the federal government without every spending discussion devolving into an all-out war.” (“The Health 202: Democrats Are Pressing Forward On Allowing The Government To Fund Abortions,” The Washington Post, 7/13/2021)

  • “House Democrats on [July 12th] took steps to advance a new spending bill for the Department of Health and Human Services without the Hyde Amendment, a 40-year-old provision that has banned federal funding for most abortions. In moving the spending bill to the full House Appropriations Committee for debate and a vote, Democrats followed through on President Joe Biden's proposed budget, which also did not include the amendment. House Democrats had indicated they would go this route and in doing so have effectively guaranteed that abortion access will be a central focus of government funding negotiations …” (“Democrats Advance Spending Bill That Would Overturn The Hyde Amendment,” ABC News, 7/12/2021)

“On [July 29th], for the first time in 45 years, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to provide taxpayer funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients. Since 1976, regardless of partisan control of Congress, every appropriations bill funding Medicaid that passed the House included the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion except in rare circumstances. The last time such an appropriations bill came to the floor of the House without the Hyde amendment was in 1993, when Democrats held 258 seats in the lower chamber. Despite the large Democratic majority, there were still enough moderates in the party to add the Hyde amendment … before final passage. Democrats now have a slim House majority — holding just 220 seats — but pro-life Democrats have effectively gone extinct in the House. The appropriations bill killing off the Hyde amendment passed the House on a 219-208 vote …” (John McCormack, “House Democrats Vote for Unlimited Taxpayer Funding of Abortion for Medicaid Recipients,” National Review, 7/29/2021)



Related Issues: Defending Life, Senate Democrats