By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. House passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, making the 41-year-old Hyde Amendment permanent, puts the country “one step closer to getting the federal government out of the business of paying for abortion once and for all,” said the president of National Right to Life.
“Over 2 million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment,” Carol Tobias said in a statement.
By a 238-183 vote Jan. 24, House members passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. It was sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. President Donald J. Trump indicated before the House vote he would sign the measure if it comes to his desk.
“Two million people who would have been aborted instead survived because public funds were unavailable to effectuate their violent demise, while their mothers benefited from prenatal health care and support,” Smith said in a statement. “Two million survivors have had the opportunity to live and enjoy the first and most basic of all human rights — the right to life.”
The 2 million figure he and Tobias cited comes from a report issued late last year by the Charlotte Lozier Institute on more than 20 peer-reviewed studies indicating that many lives have been saved since the Hyde Amendment was introduced in 1976.
“As hundreds of thousands of Americans flock to Washington for the March for Life (Jan. 27), we must never forget that defending all of our people — especially the defenseless — must be our top priority if we want to be a good and moral nation,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said in a statement.
H.R. 7, which is identical to bills that passed in 2014 and 2015, make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits tax dollars from paying for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the woman’s life. The amendment, which covers programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, has had to be renewed annually by Congress in its appropriations bill.
“Polling consistently shows that a supermajority of Americans — 61 percent, according to a Marist poll released (Jan. 23) — oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and eight in 10 Americans think laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the health of her unborn child,” Smith added.
In remarks on the House floor before the vote, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, told fellow lawmakers: “Although we may not agree on all the vicissitudes of abortion, one thing is certain, some day, we, as a society, will look back and we will recognize the humanity of these little children of God and the inhumanity of what is being done to them and we will regret these days.