A coalition of 200 House Republicans on Tuesday signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders declaring they won’t support any budget bill that allows for taxpayer funding of abortion.
At issue is the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision dating to the 1970s that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. It originally passed a Democratic-controlled House and Senate just a few years after Roe v. Wade and has been supported by every Republican and Democratic president since then, including Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama.
President Biden, though, opposed it during the campaign, and Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have said they hope to reverse it.
The amendment must be reauthorized annually. The current version allows for exceptions for rape, incest and to save the mother’s life.
Democrats control the House with a 221-211 seat advantage.
“The Hyde Amendment alone has saved the lives of over 2 million innocent babies and continues to protect the conscience rights of a vast majority of Americans opposed to publicly funded abortions,” the letter, signed by 200 GOP members, says.
It was sent to Pelosi and leaders of both parties, although Pelosi has been the most vocal in opposition to the amendment.
“We cannot allow the Hyde Amendment and other important pro-life safeguards to be decimated by Congressional Democrats,” the letter says. “Accordingly, we pledge to vote against any government funding bill that eliminates or weakens the Hyde Amendment or other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions.”
The letter notes that the Hyde Amendment historically has had bipartisan support. It also is popular in public opinion surveys.
“Repealing these pro-life provisions would destroy nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus,” the letter said. “Each year since 1976, Congress has included Hyde protections in annually enacted appropriations. No president in American history has ever vetoed an appropriations bill due to its inclusion of the Hyde Amendment.”
Obama maintained the Hyde Amendment “in each of his budget proposals,” the letter says.
“As recent as June 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment and acknowledged that it works harmoniously with federal funding for women’s healthcare,” the letter said. “Years of public polling indicates that repealing the Hyde Amendment is opposed by most of the American public. Congressional Democrats now seek to further erode public trust in government by ignoring mainstream public opinion in favor of placating the radical Left.”
The House Appropriations Committee last year held a hearing to examine the impact of the Hyde Amendment and to urge its repeal.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.