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GOP Leadership, Pro-Life Caucus ask for consideration of Smith Bill to make Hyde Amendment permanent

by | Jun 23, 2021

Majority of Americans do not want taxpayer funds for abortion

WASHINGTON, DC—On Tuesday House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),  Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) together with the four co-chairs of the House Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, asked House Democrats to take up Rep. Chris Smith’s legislation—the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021 (H.R. 18)—to make permanent the long-standing Hyde Amendment by ensuring that no federal dollars are used to pay for abortion and health plans that include abortion.

Along with House Republican Leadership, the four co-chairs of the House Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), and Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) called for unanimous consent to consider the Smith bill.

The Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, has been included in the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill on a bipartisan basis every year since 1976.

Smith said, “Years ago, then Senator  Biden wrote to constituents explaining his support for the Hyde amendment and said it would ‘protect both the woman and her unborn child…’ He said: ‘I have consistently—on no fewer than 50 occasions—voted against federal funding of abortions…those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.’ I totally agree.”

“Lives have been saved by the Hyde Amendment,” said Congressman Smith, defender of the Hyde Amendment for over four decades. “Over 2.4 million people who would have been aborted instead survived and their mothers benefited from prenatal health care and support. Furthermore, polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion—nearly 6 in 10 according to a Marist poll released earlier this year.”

“At a time when this common-sense and historically bipartisan amendment faces serious threats from Congressional pro-abortion Democrats—with the support of the Biden Administration—it is more important than ever to stand up and push back on the radical pro-abortion agenda,” said Congressman Harris. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, I strongly oppose the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, and will continue to advocate for protecting the Hyde Amendment.”

“Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been reauthorized on a bipartisan basis, signed into law by both Republican and Democrat presidents, and supported by most Americans – until now,” said Congresswoman Fischbach. “Democrats have completely abandoned millions of pro-life Americans who vehemently oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. We must pass H.R. 18 and respect the wishes of the American people that tax dollars should not be used to fund abortions.”

“For over 40 years, Congress and both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported the Hyde Amendment to prohibit publicly funded abortions,” said Congresswoman Cammack. “That tradition seems to be lost on this White House, but protecting life should not be a partisan issue. We have to listen to the American people to overwhelmingly support life.”

Breaking with 45 years of consensus, House Democratic leadership has indicated that the Hyde Amendment will not be included for fiscal year 2022. In his budget request, President Joe Biden also called for the Hyde Amendment to be removed.

The Smith bill would:

  • Permanently prevent the federal government from funding abortions
  • Make the Hyde Amendment permanent, banning federal funding of abortions through programs like Medicaid.
  • Codify the Smith Amendment, which prohibits federal employee health care plans from funding abortion, and
  • Prohibit federal funding of abortion in several other federal programs throughout government agencies.
  • Ensure that the Affordable Care Act conforms with the Hyde Amendment.
  • Until a new health insurance plan year begins, ensure full disclosure, transparency and the prominent display of the extent to which any health insurance plan on the exchange funds abortion.