Democratic office holders’ militant opposition to Hyde Amendment wildly at odds with public opinion

By Dave Andrusko

When I consider pro-abortion Democrats—at least in the militantly go-for-broke form the Democrat Party has taken in the last two years—I am reminded of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famously droll admonition, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

We’ve talked at length how that plays out in virtually every aspect of the abortion battle. However because Joe Biden has flip-flopped so often on the Hyde Amendment that his head is spinning, let’s talk about the facts of the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment is a limitation provision within an annual appropriations bill. Thus it is a fight pro-abortionists take up every time the annual appropriations bill of the Department of Health and Human Services comes up. The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding of almost all abortions and is credited with saving at least two million lives. The Hyde Amendment sticks in the craw of abortion absolutists as much as any pro-life law ever enacted.

In sum, the mythology (my term) that surrounds opposition to the Hyde Amendment is either (a) if you phrase the question properly, you will secure majority opposition, or (b) even if opposition is unpopular, the public can be brought around with enough spoonfuls of sugary rhetoric.

And here’s where I pick up from a very shrewd and comprehensive critique of “the abortion lobby and activist liberals” (the term is Michael Gerson’s) written by Slate’s William Saletan.

Saletan, not one of us but a believer in the power of facts, just wrote a piece headlined, “Abortion Funding Isn’t As Popular As Democrats Think: Recent polls debunk much of what progressives believe.”

And that is exactly what his post documents in excruciating detail. No matter how you cut it, every poll shouts “No!” to federal funding of abortion. “These polls aren’t close, ” Saletan writes. “The average gap between the pro-funding and anti-funding positions is 19 percentage points.”

Even among self-identified Democrats, opposition to the Hyde Amendment is by no means overwhelming. Saletan cites a 2017 poll in which Democrats favored the use of tax dollars for abortions by 8 percentage points while “In the Morning Consult poll, which was taken last weekend, they opposed the Hyde Amendment by 6 points.”

To me the most interesting and intriguing insight was what Biden’s flip-flop from at least nominally opposing the Hyde Amendment to supporting it portends for his presidential aspirations. Initially, we heard his reversal played well. Saletan writes

The Morning Consult poll, taken in the three days after his reversal, projected a net gain among Democrats: 30 percent said his decision made them more likely to vote for him, while 19 percent said it made them less likely.

What’s not to like about that, from the former Vice President’s perspective? This…

But among voters as a whole, the poll found a net loss in both absolute numbers (24 percent less likely to support Biden, 19 percent more likely) and intensity (16 percent much less likely, 7 percent much more likely). Among men, women, and people in every income category, the effect of the switch was, on balance, negative.

There are many other nuggets you can pan out by reading his post, but let me close with this. Saletan systemically demolishes the most cherished factoids pro-abortionists embrace to their bosom. To wit, opposition does not break down along income or gender lines, nor is opposition “driven by hostility to sex or to women’s autonomy.”

By November 2020, Democrats will be so far out to sea they won’t be able to see the shore where normal people live. Their abortion zealotry is a recipe for electoral disaster.