Every year since the mid-1970s, a bill known as the Hyde Amendment, which expressly prohibits federal funds from being used to cover abortions, has been attached as a rider to major spending legislation.
That may soon change, though, as a Democrat-controlled House subcommittee recently pushed through an appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that deliberately excluded the decades-old prohibition on federal abortion funding, Axios reported.
The exclusion appears to be in line with President Joe Biden’s proposed 2022 budget, which also failed to include the Hyde Amendment.
The HHS funding bill was approved Monday by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health and Human Services and is expected to also be passed by the full appropriations committee in the near future, though its prospects after that remain unclear.
Biden once supported it
Also excluded from the HHS funding bill, according to The Hill, was a measure known as the Weldon Amendment, an amendment that has been included in all spending bills since 2005 that prohibits the denial of federal funds to any entity solely on the basis of a refusal to cover or provide abortion services.
As for the Hyde Amendment, which has been in place since 1976 and always enjoyed some bipartisan support — including from former Sen. Biden (D-DE), up until he caved to far-left activist pressure in 2019 — it has increasingly been derided by progressive Democrats in recent years as racist and sexist toward low-income minority women who rely on federal health care assistance.
“I know this is an issue on which many of us disagree,” Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. “But regardless of the original intent of Hyde, it has disproportionately impacted women of color, and it has ultimately led to more unintended pregnancies and later riskier, and more costly abortions.”
“We are finally doing what is right for our mothers, our families, our communities by striking this discriminatory amendment, once and for all,” she added.
Big fight inevitable
Of course, Republicans aren’t likely to back down on the issue without a fight, and the amendment may well be added into the bill during negotiations on the House floor at a later date. Barring that, it also seems highly unlikely that the House bill without the Hyde Amendment would be able to clear the 60-vote threshold in the evenly-split Senate.
“These protections need to be reinstated for this bill to move forward,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, said, according to The Hill. “Quite frankly, everyone in this room knows this bill will never pass the United States Senate without their inclusion.”
ABC News reported that a top Planned Parenthood official, who predictably called the Hyde Amendment “racist and sexist,” said they were “thrilled” by the advancement of the amendment-free HHS bill — and why not, as the abortion provider would stand to receive an untold amount of additional federal funding to its revenue stream if the ban were lifted.
That said, the move would “destroy decades of bipartisan work,” according to top GOP committee member Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), and, according to pro-life Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, it’s being done to “appease an increasingly radical base” and is “too extreme to pass the Senate and is a major political liability for pro-abortion Democrats.”