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Catholic bishops’ warning: taxpayer dollars may soon pay for abortions


Domaine Public

John Burger - published on 05/13/21 - updated on 05/31/21

There's a chance the next federal budget could eliminate the Hyde Amendment which limits taxpayers' funding of abortion.

The Catholic bishops of the United States are warning that Congress soon could eliminate the so-called Hyde amendment, which guarantees that taxpayer money is not used to pay for elective abortions.

“A serious effort is underway in Congress to force all taxpayers to pay for elective abortions,” says an action alert at the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Hyde Amendment and other similar laws have long protected taxpayers from funding elective abortions.”

The alert warns that “powerful members of Congress want to get rid of these laws, which have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans for 45 years.”

“Without the Hyde Amendment and related policies, billions of taxpayer dollars could be used to pay for abortion in the United States and throughout the world,” the bishops’ conference says, asking Catholics to contact their congressional representatives to urge protection for the Hyde Amendment “and related policies and to oppose any bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.”

The Hyde Amendment, named after the late Henry Hyde, a longtime congressman from Illinois, is a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Before the amendment took effect in 1980, an estimated 300,000 abortions were performed annually using taxpayer funds.

Pro-life advocates say the Hyde Amendment has contributed to saving an estimated 2.4 million lives in the United States.

Since the election of President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and a Democratic Congress, there has been concern that the Hyde protections are at risk. On Monday, a pro-abortion advocacy organization called All* Above All launched a campaign urging Biden to submit a budget to Congress without the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage bans, Ms magazine reported.

Early in his administration, Biden reversed the so-called Mexico City Policy, which bans federal funding for abortion programs overseas. 

In February, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus, introduced legislation to prohibit the use of federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. Smith’s legislation — the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021 (H.R. 18) — makes permanent the long-standing Hyde Amendment as well as similar provisions banning federal funding of abortion by ensuring that no federal dollars are used to pay for abortion and health plans that include abortion.

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