According to breaking reports on Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats are expected to push for the direct federal funding of abortions next year paid for out of the pockets of taxpayers. This move would end the Hyde Amendment, which has been attached to federal appropriations bills every year since 1976.
“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,” the LA Times reported on Friday.
The Hyde Amendment specifies that “Medicaid will not pay for an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.”
The LA Times adds that Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who leads the subcommittee that funds federal health programs and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were the two Democrat leaders to inform lawmakers about their intention for next year.
The article references the “dramatic and widespread reversal” that Democrats have recently undergone over the “last five years” on the issue of abortion.
Indeed, even Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden also recently reversed his long-held support for the Hyde Amendment.
“What was once viewed as an acceptable compromise is now widely seen among Democrats as a prime example of systemic racism,” the LA Times notes.
“This is a terribly reckless push on the part of Democrats to force taxpayers to fund abortion on demand,” Mallory Quigley, spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List, told the LA Times. “People don’t want to be complicit in abortion with their taxpayer dollars, regardless of how they identify, pro-life or pro-choice.”
Since the enactment of the Hyde Amendment, an estimated 60,000 preborn babies have been saved from abortion every year since 1976, according to estimates. If consistent for the last 44 years, this means the Hyde Amendment has saved an estimated 2,640,000 preborn babies from abortion.
If the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats next year, the move stands a chance of passing. However, the appropriations bill without the Hyde Amendment would then have to be passed by the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to move forward any legislation.
It’s possible that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., if Democrats regain the majority in the Senate, would be willing to use the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s rules for passing legislation, making it possible to pass any bill with just 51 votes.
This move by top House Democrat leaders sets up the move as an election issue.
A 2016 poll by YouGov found that 55% of Americans support the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition on direct federal funding of abortions with taxpayer dollars.
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