By Laura Echevarria, Director of Communications and Press Secretary
WASHINGTON — “Abortion is not health care and forcing taxpayers to prop up the abortion industry during a pandemic does not help the millions of Americans deeply impacted by COVID. Pro-abortion Democrats are more interested in funding Planned Parenthood and abortion providers than in providing real solutions for the American people,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, upon passage of the COVID-19 relief plan (H.R. 1319).
Continued Tobias, “The vast majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions, yet the COVID relief reconciliation bill passed by House Democrats betrays their constituents and provides for taxpayer funding of abortion.”
The reconciliation bill does not include any Hyde Amendment provisions which would have prevented these funds from being used for abortion.
The bill passed 220-211 with no Republican support and one Democrat voting against it.
The Senate Amendment to H.R. 1319 directs $219 billion to state, and $130 billion to local, governments “to mitigate the fiscal effects stemming from” COVID-19. The Hyde Amendment is not applied to these funds. It is possible for state and local governments to use these funds to pay for abortion and abortion providers in the name of “responding to or mitigating the public health emergency.”
The Hyde Amendment prevents the use of federal funds from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment is widely recognized as having a significant impact on the number of abortions in the United States saving over an estimated two million American lives. National Right to Life believes that the Hyde Amendment has proven itself to be the greatest domestic abortion-reduction measure ever enacted by Congress.
“The COVID-relief reconciliation bill is a Democrat wish-list,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of Federal Legislation for National Right to Life. “Without Hyde Amendment protections, this legislation has the potential to put millions of dollars into the pockets of abortion providers.”
The Senate Amendment to H.R. 1319 also authorizes $204 million for State Department expenses to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus domestically or internationally, which shall include maintaining Department of State operations.” This $204 million is not subject to the protections of the Helms Amendment. The failure to include this important protection means that these funds could be spent on abortion.
Additionally, $500 million is appropriated for the foreign humanitarian response, again “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” Similarly, these millions are not subject to the protections of the Helms Amendment.
“This legislation does very little to benefit the American people and will do great harm to unborn children and their mothers both here and around the world,” said Tobias. “But pro-abortion Democrats don’t care. This bill is a thinly-disguised attempt to gut protective provisions like the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment and line the pockets of abortion providers.”
A Marist poll released in January found that, by a 20-point margin— 58% to 38%— Americans oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortion. When it comes to support/oppose “using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries”—another point of conflict—a large majority of 77% opposes. That includes more than six in ten of those who identify as pro-choice (64%).