For the past 40 years, Congress has upheld a policy to prevent tax dollars from being used by federal agencies to promote or perform abortions. This policy, known as the Hyde Amendment, has historically garnered bipartisan support and has saved more than 2.5 million lives. Congress has attached this policy to every appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 1980, but now Democrats in Congress are attempting to reverse course.
Although abortion has been a hot topic for decades, the Hyde Amendment has never been brought up in presidential elections, until recently. When then-candidate Joe Biden was on the campaign trail in 2020, he pledged his support for the removal of the Hyde Amendment from appropriations bills. President Biden, who has been in elected office since I was in 9th grade, has always supported the Hyde Amendment because it is a reasonable compromise between pro-life and pro-choice lawmakers. The Hyde Amendment is not radical – it simply prohibits federal programs, such as Medicaid, from using tax dollars to perform or promote abortions.
Last week, Congress began the process of debating, amending, and passing various appropriations bills to fund federal agencies for the next fiscal year. One of the bills brought to the floor deals with HHS funding (among several other agencies), but it would remove the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, which provides protection for health care entities by preventing discrimination against health care providers who refuse to provide, pay for, or refer someone to get an abortion.
Removing these amendments from HHS funding is a terrible reversal in a long-standing policy. I was proud to cosponsor an amendment to this bill to keep the Hyde and Weldon protections included, but House Democrats refused to consider debating it or bringing it to a vote. In fact, they refused to consider a single Republican amendment to the bill.
No tax dollars should ever be used to perform or promote abortions, but President Biden and his Democrat allies in Congress are waging war on pro-life initiatives which have historically enjoyed bipartisan support. I strongly believe every life is made in the image of God and is precious. We have a duty to protect life, so I will continue fighting for pro-life policies in Congress.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.