The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval Wednesday to the nearly two trillion dollar COVID relief bill that includes a boost in unemployment payments and stimulus checks for American families. The measure is controversial on many levels because it includes deficit spending and non-COVID pet projects. Now there’s an even bigger concern that’s come up for pro-life Americans because the Hyde Amendment is notably absent from the massive spending bill.
Once supported by President Biden as a senator, that amendment has been included in budget bills for roughly forty years. It prevented federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions.
On Wednesday in the Senate, Oklahoma Republican James Lankford expressed his disappointment in the bill that he said violates the conscience rights of many American taxpayers.
“Some people believe that a child is a child no matter how small they are. And some people believe a child is only a child after they’re born. I disagree with that position, but we have as a nation for the last four decades said we’re not going fund it—until this week,” Lankford said.
He made his objection to the abortion funding loophole during a committee meeting that was being held to consider the nomination of Shalanda Young to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lankford is opposing Young because she directly expressed her support for taxpayer funding of abortion.
“This week, what the House is voting on today, what the Senate passed on Saturday morning, will be the first time in 44 years we as a country have used federal tax dollars to pay for abortion—for the first time in four decades. This is no longer a theoretical conversation. It just happened in the Senate, and it’s happening today in the House. And what Mrs. Young was advocating was that it continues to happen time after time after time after four decades of saying we’re not going to compel Americans to pay for the taking of the life of children,” Lankford said.
Dr. Richard Mouw, a spokesperson for the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden coalition, said his group felt betrayed and blindsided that the COVID relief bill omitted the Hyde Amendment.
“A large majority of Americans are in favor of keeping abortion legal but would want some restrictions attached to it,” he said. “Right now we feel like the best thing that we can advocate is not to lose the restrictions that we already have.”
“I don’t see any reason why a Catholic president like Joe Biden, who certainly has understood the teachings of the church, could not at least say we want to cut back on the number of abortions we don’t want to fund, federally, abortions except in extreme circumstances,” he said.