Removing the Hyde Amendment in Biden’s proposed budget will set a precedent
June 9, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — President Joe Biden has unveiled his proposed budget and, unsurprisingly, it contains plenty of bad news for pro-lifers and pre-born children. Biden is the most pro-abortion president in American history, and appears determined to normalize abortion as a social good as much as possible during his term. Previous presidents, including Barack Obama, were content to push abortion while respecting the consensus that taxpayers should not fund them in the form of the Hyde Amendment. Biden’s budget excludes the Hyde Amendment, paving the way for a massive increase in taxpayer-funded abortions.
To give context for this move — which might seem like a wonky and obscure policy debate to some — I talked to Dr. Michael New, the pro-life movement’s premier statistician. New is a Research Associate of Political Science and Social Research at The Catholic University of America with a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford, and also serves as an Associate Scholar at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. Four of his articles on the impact of state-level abortion legislation have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
What is historically significant about President Biden’s exclusion of the Hyde Amendment in the 2021 budget?
President Biden’s proposed budget is the [first] presidential budget proposal in 28 years that fails to include the Hyde Amendment. President Clinton’s first budget proposal — released in the spring of 1993 — was the most recent presidential budget that did not include Hyde protections. However, Hyde language was included in appropriations legislation that President Clinton signed that summer. Since that time, every presidential budget proposal, including the seven remaining budgets proposed by President Clinton and all eight budgets proposed by Barack Obama, has included the Hyde Amendment.
How effective has the Hyde Amendment been at saving lives from abortion?
There exists a great deal of disagreement on many research topics which involve sanctity of life issues. However, when it comes to the Hyde Amendment, there is a great deal of consensus. Academic researchers — both pro-life and pro-choice — have concluded that the Hyde Amendment lowers abortion rates and saves lives. Over 15 academic studies, published in a range of economics, public health, and political science journals show that limits on Medicaid funding of abortions lower abortion rates. In 2010, the Center for Reproductive Rights published an analysis which found that the Hyde Amendment had prevented 1 million abortions since 1976. My 2016 Charlotte Lozier Institute study which was revised in 2020, found that the Hyde Amendment has saved over 2.4 million lives and continues to save approximately 60,000 lives every year.
What other bad news is contained in this budget?
In addition to excluding the Hyde Amendment, this budget should concern pro-lifers for other reasons. The budget calls for a repeal of the Dornan Amendment, which would make it possible for the District of Columbia Medicaid program to fund elective abortions. This will likely result in hundreds of more abortions being performed on women who live in the nation’s capital.
It also proposes a 19 percent increase in funding to the Title X family planning program, which likely would result in millions of additional taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. During his time in office, President Trump prevented abortion facilities from receiving Title X funds. However, President Biden is in the process of reversing this policy.
The budget proposal also includes a whopping 72 percent increase in funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has supported the Chinese government’s population-control activities, including forced abortions.
Do you believe this sets a new precedent for Democratic presidents?
I believe that this does set a new precedent for Democratic Presidents. Pro-abortion activists have obtained a great deal of influence over the Democratic Party. They will expect future Democratic Presidents to submit budgets that exclude the Hyde Amendment. Democratic Presidents will likely propose budgets without Hyde protections to curry favor with these pro-abortion activists — even in years when they face Republican Congresses who will pass appropriations bills that contain the Hyde Amendment.
How can the pro-life movement respond?
The pro-life movement can respond in several ways:
A) Pray. Prayer is powerful.
B) People can contact their Congressmen and Senators. Elected officials want to get re-elected. If there is a groundswell of support for the Hyde Amendment in their state or their district, they will notice. Additionally, Democratic margins in the House and Senate are slim and several Democrats represent districts that President Trump won in 2020. Overall, taxpayer funding for abortions polls poorly and Democrats may not want to risk their majorities in the House and Senate on this issue.
C) Get on social media. Pro-lifers are going to invest heavily in defending the Hyde Amendment this summer. Pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, National Right to Life, Family Research Council, Live Action, Democrats for Life, and Students for Life will be coordinating social media campaigns to save the Hyde Amendment. Pro-life activists from across the country are encouraged to get involved!