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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Democratic Party Targets Life-Saving Hyde Amendment

YouGov data shows majority support for the Hyde Amendment, which limits taxpayer subsidies of abortions

During the Democratic primary, former Vice President Joe Biden was forced to explain his view on the Hyde Amendment. On June 5, 2019, his campaign claimed Biden supported Hyde, which bans federal Medicaid funds from paying for elective abortions. Biden had held that view for years, and was once considered a moderate. 

After facing backlash from his primary rivals, Biden was forced to "clarify" his statement. A mere day later he said that he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment. 

Much was written about Biden’s views following the announcement. The Washington Post wrote that "Joe Biden learned the hard way there is no middle ground on abortion." And many discussed the change of view with regards to Biden being a Catholic.

It is worth stressing, however, that the position a candidate takes on taxpayer funded abortions, if they wish to best reflect the American people, should not be affected by their religion, or lack thereof. 

Ultimately, Biden became the Democratic Party's nominee, while Senator Kamala Harris, a primary rival who vocally criticized Biden on Hyde, was nominated to be his Vice President. 

To the Democratic Party, repealing the Hyde Amendment is about equal access to health care being a right. In this line of thinking, that means abortion. "If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," Biden said. "I can't justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right," he added.

The Democratic Party position is not merely semantics. The Los Angeles Times reported on August 28 that "House Democrats will try to repeal long-standing ban on federal money for abortions." A disturbing prospect, but nothing new, right?

Wrong. It shows that Democratic leadership is taking active steps to end Hyde:

Now, top House Democrats say they plan to challenge that status quo. Beginning next year, Democratic leaders in the House no longer will back the annual move to put the prohibition into law, they’ve told a small group of House Democrats.

While Americans support keeping the Hyde Amendment, as further explained below, that’s no longer the case with the Democratic Party. "The Democratic party's changing position on the policy has been swift," the article mentions. "It's not just [lawmakers] from safe Democratic districts" who support changing the law, [Rep. Diana] DeGette said. Support comes from "across the entire Democratic caucus," the article continues.

It is almost certain that this move from House Democrats, if successful, will have paramount consequences. What are the personal impacts of the Hyde Amendment on human life, though?

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization vocally in favor of repealing Hyde, paints a grim picture. In a 2013 report, they flippantly offered an estimate on what the abortion rates would look like:

The number of abortions among Medicaid-eligible women nationwide would be expected to increase by approximately 33,000 if the Hyde amendment were to be repealed—or only a 2.5% increase in the number of abortions performed nationwide.

"Only?" How can one so casually mention these 33,000 additional abortions and excuse it that it’s "only a 2.5% increase…?"

As admitted by the New York Times, discussing American’s views on the Hyde Amendment, it "depends how and whom you ask," emphasis added. 

Perhaps the worst example is a Hart Research Associates poll, commissioned by All* Above All, whose very purpose is to repeal the Hyde Amendment. It's delusional to say such a poll could not be expected to be biased and misleading. Even when taxpayer funds were mentioned, it was through an offered question with prejudgment, just as virtually every other question asked.

"Using taxpayer dollars for abortion forces all of us to pay for them–even people who don't believe in abortion," was an option for respondents to choose with which they agreed with most. Only 37 percent chose the response. Conversely, the only other option, which 63 percent chose, read "However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny insurance coverage for it just because a person is struggling financially." Decide for yourself if that's a fair wording. 

This opinion piece by The Hill references the poll, but does not mention All* Above All’s involvement. 

Polls which objectively ask respondents about their thoughts on taxpayer funded elective abortions, consistently show a majority against repealing the Hyde Amendment. 

Fortunately, the New York Times mentions other polls which show support for the Hyde Amendment, a Politico and YouGov poll, both from 2016.

Each year the Knights of Columbus commissions a Marist poll. These polls, including the one for 2020, have shown overall opposition to taxpayer funded abortions, including from those who are pro-choice. 

Even Slate, which is pro-choice, recognized support for the Hyde Amendment and recommended candidates heed such views. The piece also mentions the Politico/Morning Consult poll from 2019 and PRRI from 2018. 

Another poll, from McLaughlin & Associates, commissioned by the Susan B. Anthony List, shows a majority of respondents opposing abortions paid for with taxpayer funded dollars. 

This year's Democratic Party platform was clear throughout that a goal of the Biden-Harris administration is to repeal the Hyde Amendment. The 2016 platform was the first to say so. Any such discussion was virtually absent from the convention, other than when Harris briefly mentioned in her acceptance speech an "injustice in reproductive and maternal health care." That same night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used "championing a woman's right to choose and defending Roe v. Wade" as her first example of how Democrats "are unleashing the full power of women to take their rightful place in every part of our national life..."

Both the pro-life and pro-choice media took notice at the lack of a comprehensive discussion of proposed abortion policy. 

Meanwhile, speakers at the Republican National Convention addressed the Democratic Party's view on abortion, included taxpayer funded procedures, each night. 

As various media sources commented, it is rather strange that the Democrats would leave out such a fundamental tenet from their convention. This is especially the case when they're so set on refusing to budge on Hyde. Perhaps it's because they don't think that they need to earn the support of the American people with such a dramatic move. 

There is a hopeful, human side to the Hyde Amendment, however. The #HelloHyde campaign was introduced in 2016, the 40th anniversary of Hyde.

A child born via Medicaid wears a
name tag that says "#HelloHyde
my name is Noah."

Also in 2016, the Charlotte Lozier Institute released estimations that over 2 million lives were saved because of Hyde. For those born after 1976 through Medicaid, 1 in 9 owe their lives to Hyde. It's #HelloHyde which puts a face to these countless, invaluable lives.

So, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the Democratic ticket want taxpayers to fund abortions. The American people don’t, though. It's time for politicians to listen to their constituents, with all views on abortion, who don’t want their taxpayers going to a procedure which is not only elective, but morally reprehensible to the conscience of so many Americans. 

[Today's guest post is by Rebecca Downs. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

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