As a Democratic majority-led House of Representatives taking office in January, leftists dream about what they can pass out of the House during this next session of Congress. Conservatives do the same so I don’t fault them for that. ThinkProgress, however, recently polled members of the House (both incumbents and incoming freshman) to see where they land on the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment is language attached to appropriations bills that prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions.

According to ThinkProgress, a not insignificant number of members in the House want to see it gone:

By ThinkProgress’ count, at least 183 House members support repealing the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from covering abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Hyde is not permanent law but written and passed through congressional appropriations bills annually. Reproductive rights and justice advocates are cautiously optimistic 2019 is finally the year Congress doesn’t attach the coverage restriction or other similar riders to an appropriation bill. The number of members backing repeal so far is a feat of its own. 

Lawmakers will also have the opportunity to formally put an end to Hyde. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) told ThinkProgress she will re-introduce the EACH Woman Act for the second time next year; the legislation ensures that anyone who gets health care through the federal government will have coverage for abortion services and that legislators cannot interfere with what private insurance covers. The bill needs support from at least 35 more representatives to pass, according to a ThinkProgress analysis.

As it relates to Obamacare, the Hyde Amendment was largely ignored. The Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council found that 650 Obamacare plans on state exchanges cover abortion on demand

They noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offered a rule that does not limit providers who want to insure elective abortion procedures, but yet protects taxpayers who do not want to pay for it.

Earlier this month HHS issued a new rule directing insurers selling Obamacare plans that cover elective abortion to collect a separate payment from all enrollees for that coverage, as required by law. Under the Obama administration, insurers were allowed to collect these payments in a single transfer of funds in violation of clear statutory language.

That will not satisfy Democrats who have gone from abortion being “safe, legal, and rare” to “unregulated, universally accepted, and paid for with taxpayer money.” This shift has occurred over time as the Democratic Party continues its leftward shift and is now support for taxpayer funding of abortion is in their party platform.

That is not in step with the American people however. A Marist poll in 2017 found that a majority of Americans (61 percent) oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 40 percent of those who say they are “pro-choice” and 41 percent of Democrats.

The Hyde Amendment has saved lives. More than twenty peer reviewed studies indicate that over two million lives have been saved since the Hyde Amendment was introduced in 1976, according to a 2016 report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

If Democrats want to energize Republicans and conservative independents for 2020, repeal the Hyde Amendment. That will make the surge for Senate Republicans over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process look like nothing. 

Photo Credit: Michael Judkins

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