Amid the inter-party negotiations and public squabbling between Democrats over Joe Biden’s proposed “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation spending bill, pro-life groups have been working to prevent Congress from enacting bills that would fund abortions with federal taxpayer dollars. They are also urging that lawmakers not remove the Hyde Amendment that prohibits Medicaid from funding abortion procedures.
There is also concern that Congressional Democrats might override prohibitions enacted by states on using state funds spent in the Medicaid program for abortion funding.
March for Life has issued statements on its website urging Americans to “tell the Senate” to maintain protections for the lives of the unborn. The message it suggests be sent to lawmakers says that the House recently passed a partisan appropriations bill that strips away all pro-life protections “for the first time since 1976, including the Hyde Amendment.” It shows that the removal of the amendment opens the door for federal abortion funding nationwide.
According to a recent bulletin from the Senate Appropriations Committee, the latest version of the budget bill eliminates the Hyde Amendment.
The American Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked Congress to protect unborn life in all spending bills. A statement issued last week by Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Joseph Naumann said that the bills as proposed “represent a radical departure” from the desires of Americans and principles of justice. They continued by saying that the Senate is “staking out an extreme position” that would force taxpayers to fund the taking of unborn life and providers to participate against their will.
Progressives have been very active in pushing to remove the Hyde Amendment from the “Build Back Better” plan, but they may be creating a scenario that could doom the package. At least one crucial vote belongs to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has flatly stated that he will not vote for a spending bill that omits the Hyde Amendment.
Manchin said that he was “going to support Hyde in every way possible.” He added that leaving Hyde out would be “foolish,” and he is “strongly opposed” to attempts to remove it.
In the equally divided Senate, the Democrats cannot afford to lose even a single vote on any reconciliation budget bill.