CONTACT: Kathryn Rexrode or Lauren Hammond, (202) 225-3951However stark Americans’ differences of opinion can be on the matter of abortion generally, there has been long, bipartisan agreement that federal taxpayer funds should not be used to destroy innocent life. The Hyde Amendment, named for its chief sponsor, former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, has prohibited the federal funding of abortions since 1976, when it passed a House and Senate that was composed overwhelmingly of Democratic Members. It has been renewed each appropriations cycle with few changes for over 37 years, supported by Congresses controlled by both parties, and Presidents from both parties. It is probably the most bipartisan pro-life proposal, sustained over a longer period of time, than any other. It’s time the Hyde Amendment was codified in the U.S. Code.
H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, sponsored by Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, would do just that. It would codify the two core principles of the Hyde Amendment throughout the operations of the federal government: namely, a ban on federal funding for abortions, and a ban on the use of federal funds for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.
As hundreds of thousands of people from across the country come to Washington to express their love of unborn children at the annual March for Life, it is a marvelous time to reflect on what could be accomplished if the bill we consider today were enacted into law. During the time the Hyde Amendment has been in place, probably millions and millions of innocent children, and their mothers, have been spared the horrors of abortion. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Hyde Amendment has led to as many as 675,000 fewer abortions each year. Let that sink in for a few precious moments. The policy we will be discussing today has likely given America the gift of millions more children, and consequently millions more mothers, and millions more fathers. Millions more lifetimes. And trillions more loving gestures and other human gifts in all their diverse forms. What a stunningly wondrous legacy, and the bill before us today could continue that legacy permanently.
I encourage all my colleagues to support this vitally important legislation.