Pro-life Americans concerned about seeing their federal taxpayer dollars go to funding abortions have, for the last 40 years, relied on previous bill-by-bill solutions such as the Hyde Amendment. That long-standing policy is in jeopardy, however, as there is increasing support in Congress and the White House for doing away with the Hyde Amendment in future funding bills.
The bill would codify the Hyde Amendment by inserting it in the U.S. Code, thereby making a ban on the taxpayer funding of abortion a federal law that would apply to all current and future laws and policies of the U.S. government. The law would at that point not depend on the whims of any particular Congress.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. introduced the bill, which has 130 co-sponsors in the House. In announcing the bill, Smith explained in a press statement why it was needed.
“When federal taxpayer dollars are not available to help effectuate the demise of unborn babies, lives are saved,” Smith explained. “Abortion violence must be replaced with compassion and empathy for women and for defenseless unborn baby girls and boys.”
The press statement also included a reaction from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), a cosponsor of Smith’s legislation. In it, she said: “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act codifies critical federal policy protecting the unborn: the Hyde Amendment. It’s long past time to make Hyde protections permanent, ensuring human rights for our children and listening to the voices of our nation’s citizens.”
Smith, who is the co-chair of the House Pro-Life caucus, summarized the bill’s major points. It 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.
- 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.
H.R. 18 is identical to bills introduced in 2014, 2015 and 2017, which ultimately failed.
Smith points to the fact that the Hyde Amendment has saved lives for 40 years. “Over two million people who would have been aborted instead survived and their mothers benefited from prenatal health care and support,” he said.
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