Carmen Fowler LaBerge: Here’s What You Should Know About the Hyde Amendment

ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 06: Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to a crowd at a Democratic National Committee event at Flourish in Atlanta on June 6, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The DNC held a gala to raise money for the DNCs IWillVote program, which is aimed at registering voters. (Photo by Dustin Chambers/Getty Images)

The Hyde Amendment – which bans federal tax dollars from paying for abortions – is back in the news following the announcement by Democrat candidate for President, former Vice President Joe Biden, announced he no longer supports it. 

So, what is the Hyde Amendment?

The Hyde Amendment (named after late congressman Henry Hyde) was passed in 1976, three years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade.  The amendment is affirmed each year by Congress as a rider to the HHS appropriations bill because it prohibits federal funding of abortions.  The rider has said various things over the years but the current version  includes exceptions that allow Medicaid funds to be used for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother – but all other federal taxpayer funding of abortion is banned by Hyde.

Between 1976, when the Hyde Amendment first passed, and 1980 when it took effect (after the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional), federal tax dollars funded 25% of all abortions nationally or some  300,000 abortions annually. To be clear, before the Hyde Amendment went into effect, America’s taxpayers paid for nearly a million abortions.

Joe Biden’s reversal is significant because the Hyde Amendment has historically had bipartisan support in Congress.  It is a part of the annual appropriations process, is routinely passed, and rarely challenged – until the 2016 Presidential campaign cycle. The Hyde Amendment stood under six presidencies – 3 Democrat and 3 Republican. Bill Clinton campaigned against it in 1992 but continued to sign a version of the Hyde Amendment into law each year that allowed for taxpayer funding to be used for abortions through Medicaid funding in cases of rape and incest, an extremely small number of abortions.  And it was President Obama who enshrined Hyde via an executive order pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. Executive Order 13535establishes “an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment.”

But the DNC party platform expressly calls for the repeal of Hyde.

In 2016, then Democrat Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned for the repeal and anyone who wants to the Democrat nominee in 2020 has to do so as well. Thus, Joe Biden’s reversal to join the ranks of every other Democrat contending for the nomination.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Carmen Fowler LaBerge