NOTE: This article is one of a series on the “top ten” accomplishments of the pro-life movement over the past 40 years since unborn children were stripped of their legal right to life by the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings.

Since abortion was legalized throughout the United States in 1973, abortionists have killed more than 55 million unborn children—a staggering number that defies comprehension.

But the number of lives lost to abortion would have been much, much higher if abortion advocates had achieved one of their central goals: making taxpayers foot the bill for abortion.

As research by Dr. Michael New has shown, restricting government funding for abortion significantly lowers abortion rates—lives are saved.

One million lives saved by Hyde

At the federal level, government funding of abortion has been held in check since 1976 by the Hyde Amendment, named after pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde, who secured its enactment.

The Hyde Amendment bans the use of federal funds for abortion, except in the case of rape and incest, and is estimated to have saved one million babies from abortion.

The Hyde Amendment, which must be renewed every year when Congress passes its annual appropriations bill, enjoys wide bipartisan support—in no small part due to the fact that the people widely opposed taxpayer funding of abortion.

Continuing challenge to keep public money out of abortion

However, the threat remains that government will begin to pay for more abortions. Many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) seem designed to make that happen—most especially the HHS Mandate, which forces employers to provide free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

There is also the fact that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, receives over $500 million from taxpayers.

While technically the Hyde Amendment and state restrictions keep that money from paying for abortions directly, it’s a tremendous boon to the organization, comprising nearly half their total income. Cutting off that funding would be a tremendous victory.

So there is still work to be done keeping public funds from paying for abortions and aiding the abortion industry. But let us appreciate what an important accomplishment it has been to prevent the abortion industry from achieving its dream of taxpayer funded abortions for all.

Reprinted with permission from ProlifeAction.org.