As the Hyde amendment turns 40, preserving and making permanent the Hyde Amendment is one of the greatest tasks of the pro-life movement. It is not an exaggeration to say that Hyde is the only thing standing between abortion and full federal funding. If Hyde does not stand, our taxpayer money goes directly to funding abortion in all circumstances. Hyde currently allows for exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and the mother’s life, but those who want to abolish Hyde have much more sweeping hopes for abortion funding.
Our nation would be catechizing abortion as a part of women’s health. Pro-lifers know this to be a grossly misguided ideology, as abortion hurts women as well as unborn children. But never mind the facts, abortion lobbyists believe abortion is a right and a right that needs to be “safe, legal, and accessible” to poor women everywhere who, of course, “need” abortion to succeed in life. To them, it is a right so fundamental that you have to pay for it.
Hyde prevents this. Hyde protects conscience rights for the pro-life American taxpayers who do not believe abortion funding is a just purpose of government. And Hyde is consistent with the public opinion of 62% of Americans, including pro-choice taxpayers, who believe abortion should not be federally funded.
But it doesn’t just protect the taxpayers. Hyde has literally saved lives, and continues to do so at the rate of 60,000 lives a year. Over two million people living in American today owe their very lives to Hyde. Twenty peer-reviewed studies have verified over and over again that the Hyde amendment has reduced abortion. In fact, one-in-nine people born to a mother receiving Medicaid can claim Hyde as saving their life. This is because once Hyde took effect, the number of Medicaid mothers increased by 13 percent, indicating that instead of using federal money for an abortion, women were utilizing available, better help — Medicaid’s provision of pre-natal care and delivery.
It appears that when abortion isn’t covered by federal funding, women don’t in desperation turn to abortion’s faulty promises of a “quick fix” that destroys unborn life and leaves them physically and emotionally wounded. Instead, women learn to turn to options that are healthier for them and their babies. They turn to what federal funding should do — protecting women’s health with prenatal care, delivery, and comprehensive health services for women and children in need.
Those who value unborn life and religious freedom need to protect Hyde. Those who know women deserve better than abortion and who don’t want their taxes sanctioning death need to protect Hyde. Those who believe the government has no business in the abortion industry need to protect Hyde. And finally, those who could owe their very lives to the passage of Hyde need to work intensely to protect the Hyde Amendment for all the good it has done and still can do.