House Passes Appropriations Bill Without Hyde Protections

Until This Congress, Hyde Had Bipartisan Support for 45 Years

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the appropriations minibus (H.R. 4502) that includes spending for Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) in a vote of 219 to 208.

This is the first step in the passage of the appropriations minibus which still needs to see action in the Senate.

H.R. 4502 removes the longstanding Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding of domestic abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment has been enacted—with bipartisan support—in various forms from 1976 until FY2021.

“Democratic leadership in the House has put Hyde on the chopping block,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “After 45 years of bipartisan support, Democrats in the House want to destroy a measure designed to save human lives.”

Prior to the vote, Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) filed a motion to recommit that failed in a party-line vote of 217 to 208.

“We praise Congressman Cole for his effort to prevent passage of the appropriations bill without Hyde Amendment language,” said Tobias. “We thank the pro-life members of Congress for their dedication and diligence in working to protect the Hyde Amendment and prevent taxpayer funding of abortions.”

After Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, various federal health programs, including Medicaid, simply started paying for elective abortions. By 1976, the federal Medicaid program was paying for about 300,000 elective abortions annually, and the number was escalating rapidly. An amendment by pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) to prevent federal Medicaid funds from paying for abortions was enacted.

“The Hyde Amendment is widely recognized as having saved over two million American lives since it was first adopted in 1976,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., legislative director of National Right to Life.

Popik continued, “The Hyde Amendment has proven to be the greatest domestic abortion-reduction measure ever enacted by Congress.”

The truth about the Hyde Amendment and taxpayer funding of abortion:

  • The Hyde Amendment has been renewed each appropriations cycle—with few changes—ever since it was first adopted in 1976.
  • The amendment has enjoyed bipartisan support over the years and has been supported by Congresses controlled by both parties as well as presidents from both parties.
  • It was estimated that before the Hyde Amendment took effect, approximately 300,000 abortions annually were paid for by Medicaid programs and the number was climbing rapidly.
  • A November 2020 McLaughlin poll showed that 64.6% oppose tax funding of abortion including 49% of Democrats and 69% of Independents.
  • In a 2021 Marist poll conducted in January, those who “oppose using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion”—58% —is solid and consistent with prior polling. What is noticeable is that 65% of Independents and even 31% of Democrats oppose federal funding of abortion.

Also missing from the appropriations bills was Weldon Amendment language which would protect the conscience rights of medical providers and prevent them from being forced to participate in an abortion.

For more information on the history and background of the Hyde Amendment, visit the NRLC website here.