person holding baby's index finger

House panel rejects pro-life Hyde Amendment

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on July 15 rejected pro-life amendments to two spending bills for fiscal year 2022.

The committee defeated an attempt to restore the 45-year-old Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funds in Medicaid and other programs from being used to pay for abortion outside of exceptions for rape, incest or if the pregnancy is determined to endanger the woman’s life.

Pro-life advocates estimate the Hyde Amendments has saved some 2½ million unborn children since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. The Hyde Amendment is not a permanent law and has to be renewed annually by Congress. President Joe Biden has called for the removal of the Hyde Amendment from congressional appropriations bills.

The Appropriations Committee also turned back an amendment to re-establish the ban on funding abortions for prisoners.

SBC resolution

Rejection of the Hyde Amendment came a month after messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting approved a resolution that denounced any attempt to rescind the measure. The SBC resolution, which gained nearly unanimous approval, condemned any attempt to overturn the Hyde Amendment as “morally abhorrent, a violation of Biblical ethics, contrary to the natural law, and a moral stain on our nation.” It called for the preservation of Hyde and all other pro-life amendments “to protect life, and to prevent taxpayers from being complicit in the moral evil of abortion.”

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission expressed dismay over the committee’s actions.

“It is inexcusable that in the same week one chamber of Congress gets a step closer to rightfully confronting the Uyghur genocide in China, the other chamber also takes steps to utilize taxpayer funding for abortion,” said Chelsea Sobolik, a policy director for the ERLC. “This is not only inconsistent from a policy standpoint; it is morally incoherent.”

The Hyde Amendment and other pro-life “riders” should be restored immediately, Sobolik said. “We cannot advance the cause of human dignity if we fail to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

The Senate approved July 14 an import ban on goods made by forced labor in western China in an effort to combat the Chinese government’s genocidal treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities.

The bills — minus the pro-life “riders” — must still gain passage from the full Democratic-controlled House. If adopted in that chamber, the spending bills without the “riders” are expected to face a challenge in the Senate, which is divided evenly between the two political parties.

(Reprinted from Baptist Press, www.baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, with additional reporting by TAB Media)

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