40 Years of Hyde, 2 Million Lives Saved and the Conscience Rights of the American People Protected

Gone are the days of the Democratic Party respecting public opinion when it comes to abortion. The party that used to talk about “safe, legal, and rare” has now become the party of fight safety measures in court, make abortion legal for any reason at any point in a pregnancy, and one million abortions a year is not enough, so force taxpayers to become complicit in their funding.


Now, the 40th anniversary of a law that has had decades of bipartisan support, has saved millions of Americans’ lives, and has prevented the government from forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, the Democratic Party has targeted that law for repeal.

The Hyde Amendment — which marked 40 years yesterday — has prohibited the federal government from using taxpayer funds to pay for most elective abortions.  The public’s opinion on this issue has been consistent, and a recent Marist Poll showed that the majority of Americans — 62 percent — continue to oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

Despite the shameless attempts of the abortion lobby to fight it and the activist judges who tried to overturn it, over the past 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has been upheld and is said to be responsible for saving over two million lives.

Allow me to repeat that:  Two million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment.  When compared to highway, workplace, and child safety laws, Hyde should be lauded as one of the most successful life-saving laws in history.

Yet back in July, at the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party adopted the most extreme abortion platform our nation has ever seen. Not only is “rare” long gone from their previous abortion planks, they added a plank to repeal the Hyde Amendment, delivering the most offensive slap in the face to two million of our fellow citizens, saying to them, “Your lives weren’t worth saving.”  Repealing Hyde and forcing the American people to pay for abortions for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy would also – according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute – increase abortions.


The Democratic Party adopted this position even though an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions and 32 percent of Democrats consider themselves to be pro-life.

My friend, Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, called it “the most extreme pro-abortion platform in history,” adding that it “will usher in an era of unsafe abortion paid for with taxpayer funds during all nine months.”

While Americans need to oppose a Hyde repeal, we also need to understand that Hyde is not enough.  It doesn’t stop Planned Parenthood from getting over half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding despite the fact that it’s the largest abortion chain in the country, committing over 300,000 abortions a year by starving preborn babies of nutrients until they die or dismembering them alive.  But Hyde does create some obstacles to Planned Parenthood from using taxpayer money to offer free or subsidized abortions and pushing abortions on more American women.

Hyde also makes exceptions to pay for abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother situations, although over 1000 OB/GYNs, neonatologists, and other medical professionals have publicly stated that there is never a situation where abortion is medically necessary to save the life of a mother.  And in the cases of rape and incest, which are horrific crimes, many people question why a child in the womb deserves the death sentence for the crimes of her father, especially a publicly funded death sentence.


In the end, the majority of Americans are pro-life and have a right to object to their tax dollars paying for abortions — and the Hyde Amendment has helped to protect this right for 40 years.  More importantly, Hyde has also protected the right to life for over two million Americans who are with us today.

On its 40th anniversary, we should reflect on the lives that Hyde has saved and the rights of conscience that it has protected.  We must also tell our elected leaders that if they do anything to the Hyde Amendment, they must strengthen it, not weaken it, and once and for all end all public funding of abortions and of any business that commits them.

Lila Rose is the president of Live Action.


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