Hyde Amendment

Op-ed: Preserving the Hyde Amendment and Protecting the Vulnerable

Editor’s note. The following op-ed from the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference was published in The Arizona Republic.

Protecting the vulnerable, especially innocent human life, should always be a primary goal of the government. As Congress prepares to vote on funding priorities for the coming year, we are encouraged that attention is being paid to assisting vulnerable populations in many different ways. Unfortunately, however, there are also serious and disturbing proposals to subsidize the deaths of unborn children that are gaining momentum and must be rejected.

The Hyde Amendment is a bipartisan provision that has been a part of federal appropriations since 1976. Essentially, the Hyde Amendment is important because it prohibits federal funding of domestic abortions, except in limited circumstances.

In addition to being widely supported by most Americans, the Hyde Amendment policies save lives while respecting the consciences of Americans. In fact, a recent study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute credits the Hyde Amendment with saving almost 2.5 million lives over the 45 years of its existence.

Accordingly, it only makes sense that the proposed elimination of the Hyde Amendment would likely result in a significant increase in abortions. Eliminating these policies would also eliminate one of the few areas of common ground relating to this issue.

Historically, the Hyde Amendment has significantly represented a bipartisan “compromise” on abortion.  A consensus has developed around the notion that regardless of one’s view on the legality or appropriateness of abortion, taxpayers should not be forced to encourage or pay for abortions.

It is, therefore, not surprising, that for almost half a century the Hyde Amendment has received broad support from Democrats and Republicans. In fact, these policies have been enacted and signed into law every year by congresses and presidents of both political parties.

Presently, however, the Hyde Amendment is under the most serious threat to its existence since it was enacted.  By removing these policies and replacing them with taxpayer-funded abortions Congress would essentially be offering pregnant women despair and death instead of hope and life.

Instead of removing the Hyde Amendment, Congress would do better by using these funds to offer women the resources they deserve to fully care for and love their babies. Doing so will help make sure that no woman ever feels economic or other pressure to have an abortion.

While working on appropriations for next year, Congress should be encouraged to work on funding proposals that promote the common good in many areas. Nonetheless, it remains critically important for any such efforts to retain the bipartisan budget provisions which have protected millions of unborn babies and mothers in distress.

It is for these reasons that we earnestly call on all government leaders to make sure that the Hyde Amendment policies that have served our country and protected the most vulnerable for several decades be preserved.

Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Tucson

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup

Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix

The Arizona Catholic Conference is the public policy agency for the Diocese of Gallup, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Diocese of Tucson and the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.

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