The 2016 Democrat Party Platform, for the first time, is demanding the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. If the Democrats are successful, your tax dollars will pay for any abortion for any reason.
The Hyde Amendment (named after its chief sponsor, the late congressman Henry Hyde) has been in place, in one form or another, since its first appearance as a “rider” on an appropriations bill in 1976. The Amendment was the first major legislative victory for the pro-life movement after the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v Wade in 1973.
Since the Court quite arbitrarily decided in Roe v Wade that the right to abortion was hidden in the “penumbras, formed by emanations” from the Bill of Rights, those defending the lives of the innocent unborn hoped to limit the scourge by limiting federal funding. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortions through Health and Human Services (i.e., Medicaid), except where the life of the mother is threatened by carrying the baby to term, or (as added by President Bill Clinton) in cases of rape or incest. Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which has saved an estimated 2 million babies from being aborted.
Now Hillary Clinton is leading the campaign to terminate the Hyde Amendment. As the official Democratic Platform states, “Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.”
The Democrat argument is that abortion is a right, a subset right of health care, therefore everyone should be able to get an abortion for any reason—and that means the federal government should pay for those who can’t afford it.
There are a number of problems hidden in these assertions.
First of all, “the majority of Americans,” as Gallup polls over the last twenty years show, do not support abortion under any circumstances. Only about 25-30% support this radical position of the Democratic Platform. If we add together those who say that we should not allow abortion under any circumstances (about 20%) with those who say that abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances (about 50%), we have about 70% of Americans supporting the Hyde Amendments restrictions. Derailing the Hyde Amendment means a minority forcing a majority to pay for what it finds morally unconscionable.
Second, we note that opposing the defunding Planned Parenthood is mentioned alongside championing the end of the Hyde Amendment. This gives us a clue to the moral caliber of both efforts. The move to defund Planned Parenthood came about because they got caught, on video, blithely bragging about the selling of baby parts, or even entire babies, and altering the abortion procedures to fit the bill of sale. So repulsive were the videos, so callous the Planned Parenthood officials, that a nation-wide outcry followed, culminating in a congressional effort to defund them. One has to wonder what has happened to the consciences of the Planned Parenthood officials in the videos, and that makes us wonder just as much about those who defend them.
Third, it’s time that we stop the macabre semantic charade where “health” (which is about life) is linked to abortion (which is about death). This is the same kind of semantic shuffle that links “health care” with euthanasia. If people are going to demand the right to abortion, we must force them to say clearly—in the public square and in legislation—what it is they are claiming a right to do, rather than deflecting attention from the victim of abortion (the baby) to the woman getting the abortion.
Abortion is health care if and only if abortion affects the woman alone (which it doesn’t), or directly saves her life (the original Hyde Amendment exception). It can’t affect the woman alone, because the procedure by its very nature is aimed at exterminating the baby. Even in the case where abortion saves the life of the mother, it is still a procedure that exterminates the baby. We all need to be clear about what is really going on.
What abortion activists have done is stretch the notion of “health” to include any possible perceived emotional, social, or psychological disturbances—that’s why they fight against any and all restrictions, including the Hyde Amendment. It’s time to fight back.