Pro-life groups are slamming President Joe Biden for failing to include the Hyde Amendment in his over $6 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2022.
Biden released his budget proposal Friday, outlining to Congress his priorities for fiscal year 2022, which begins Oct. 1. Interest groups on both sides of the aisle quickly noticed that the budget did not include the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
In a statement, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, slammed Biden for abandoning “that longstanding, bipartisan campaign promise out the window to fulfill a campaign promise to the radical abortion lobby.”
She encouraged Congress, the body ultimately responsible for passing a budget, to “be fearless in fighting to preserve the common-ground Hyde principle and to reject any budget that omits vital pro-life protections.”
“For more than four decades, the Hyde family of pro-life policies has kept American taxpayers out of the abortion business, with the Hyde Amendment itself saving nearly 2.5 million lives,” she added. “Once a supporter of policies that protect the lives of the unborn and their mothers, President Biden caters today to the most extreme voices within his party.”
National Right to Life Carol Tobias echoed Dannenfelser’s remarks, characterizing the budget proposal as “a scorched earth campaign by pro-abortion Democrats who are marching hand in hand with the most extreme demands of the abortion industry to eliminate all limitations on abortion as well as require taxpayer funding of abortion.”
Ahead of the release of Biden’s budget proposal, pro-life groups, including Susan B. Anthony List and National Right to Life, wrote a letter to the leaders of both houses of Congress, urging them to work to preserve the Hyde Amendment. In addition to Dannenfelser and Tobias, the more than 60 signatories included Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
“A strong majority of Americans support the first Hyde Amendment, with 58% of voters —including 31% of Democrats, 34% of self-described pro-choice voters, and 65% of Independents — opposing taxpayer funding of abortion,” they wrote. “These lifesaving provisions across federal appropriations have been consistently supported by Republicans and Democrats in Congress for decades. Every president from Carter to Bush to Obama to Trump have signed into law appropriations incorporating critical, status quo protections.”
The pro-life activists also mentioned the importance of including other “pro-life amendments in appropriations in the decades since 1976” in the budget. “These Hyde-like amendments include protections for the vulnerable at home (Hyde, Dornan, Smith) and abroad (Helms, Siljander, Tiahrt), in research (Dickey-Wicker), for medical providers and others who object to abortion (Hyde-Weldon, Nickles).”
Citing the millions of lives saved as a result of these amendments, the leaders asserted that “Congress has the duty and privilege to continue this legacy of protecting the vulnerable.”
After declaring that “there has never been such an important time for Congress to recognize the dignity of every life by reaffirming support and retaining the Hyde family,” the signatories concluded the letter by simply stating, “Hyde saves lives.”
Democrats control the White House and have narrow majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate. While a budget without Hyde Amendment protections will likely pass the House, the future of such a bill remains uncertain in the Senate, where a handful of Democrats have supported Hyde Amendment protections in the past.
Earlier this year, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., introduced an amendment to apply Hyde Amendment protections to the American Rescue Plan, the coronavirus relief package Congress was considering at the time. Three Democrats supported Lankford's amendment: Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The amendment failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to pass, meaning that the bill passed without Hyde Amendment protections.
While the president’s budget proposal was met with swift criticism from the pro-life movement, pro-abortion groups cheered the exclusion of the Hyde Amendment from his budget request. The Twitter account for Planned Parenthood Action, the activist arm of the nation’s largest abortion provider, posted a statement praising the budget as “a statement of values.”
“President Biden’s budget proposes to end the harmful Hyde amendment – making clear that federal law should support everyone’s ability to access health care, including safe, legal abortion in this country.”
After thanking Biden for “investing in sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice,” the abortion advocacy group called on Congress to “end anti-abortion restrictions, like the Hyde, Weldon & Helms Amendments, support sex ed & increase funding for Title X, permanently repeal the global gag rule, [and] expand health care access here & abroad.”
As The Christian Post has previously reported, congressional Democrats highlighted their desire to do away with the Hyde Amendment both before and after the 2020 presidential election. Last summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was one of the top Democratic lawmakers who told their colleagues that “they would not add the prohibition to any government funding bill beginning next year.”
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a close ally of Pelosi, remarked, “It’s an issue of racial justice and it’s an issue of discrimination against low-income women, women of color, (and) women who don’t have access to what middle- and upper-income women have in terms of the choice to have an abortion.” Lee was one of several pro-abortion lawmakers celebrating the Biden budget’s exclusion of the Hyde Amendment, expressing gratitude that Biden “has become the first president in decades to remove the Hyde Amendment from the budget.”
Lee predicted that the absence of the Hyde Amendment from the budget will help “advance our fight to end this racist & discriminatory policy once and for all.” Her tweet was accompanied by the hashtag #BeBoldEndHyde.
At a hearing late last year discussing “abortion affordability,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who now serves as chairwoman of the influential House Appropriations Committee, alleged that “the time has come” to abandon the Hyde Amendment. She lambasted the “discriminatory policy,” seconding Lee’s claims about its negative impact on “communities of color.” DeLauro vowed that “this is the last year” that the Hyde Amendment will be included in the federal budget.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org