The Hyde Amendment sticks in the craw of abortion absolutists as much as any pro-life law ever enacted. And today marks the 38th anniversary of passage of the law (the “Hyde” is the late pro-life champion, Rep. Henry Hyde), a titanic struggle that represented a major success against federal funding of abortion.
Prior to its passage in 1976, the federal Medicaid program paid for 300,000 abortions a year. Conservative estimates are that there are well over one million people are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment.
On this anniversary, there are many things worth remembering. Here are just five.
#1. Pro-abortionists never gave up, and it was not until the Harris v. McRae case, settled in 1980, that the United States Supreme Court agreed the law was constitutional. And even then the Court was split 5-4. National Right to Life filed an important brief in that case.
#2. Pro-abortionists have made a concerted effort to pretend that somehow the Hyde Amendment would prevent ObamaCare from allowing federally-subsidized health plans to cover abortions. This was and is completely erroneous.
#3. Polls consistently show strong majorities against federal funding of abortion. President Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment. No surprise, in either case.
#4. Speaking of never giving up, pro-abortionists still grind their teeth when they speak of the Hyde Amendment. For them the “right” to abortion never meant only the legal right to abort. It required that through Medicaid you and I and every other tax payer fund their abortions.
#5. Because the Hyde Amendment is a limitation provision within an annual appropriations bill, it is a fight pro-abortionists could take up every time the annual appropriations bill of the Department of Health and Human Services comes up. Fairly detailed information on the history of the Hyde Amendment, its demonstrated impact, and related issues is found in testimony presented by NRL at a House hearing in 2011, here.
We have a lot to thank the late Rep. Hyde for. At the top is enactment of the Hyde Amendment.
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