Nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general (AGs) are calling on Congress to firmly reject President Biden’s proposal to remove the Hyde Amendment from the federal budget.
The Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision banning the use of federal funding of abortions except in cases of incest or rape or to save the life of the mother.
Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall led the 22 Republican AGs in calling the requirement to abandon the longstanding provision blocking taxpayer funding of abortions “unconscionable.”
The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and R-Ky., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
The letter reads, in part:
“If taxpayers disagree with the services that their tax dollars pay for, they can ‘vote with their feet’ and move to a state with lower taxes or one that prioritizes spending differently.
“But because one cannot move to avoid federal taxes, there would be nowhere for a pro-life, or even a moderately pro-choice, American to go to avoid violating the moral or religious conviction that their hard-earned dollars not be used to fund abortions.
“The administration’s decision here is merely the most recent illustration of its having lost all sense of accountability to the taxpayer.”
Although there was no immediate response to the letter from leaders, Democratic leaders have reportedly indicated some support for repeal. It remains unclear how the Democrat-controlled House will handle the issue.
This recent Biden budget proposal is a stark departure from his stated position on the issue.
The push to repeal Hyde has gained increased momentum in the past few years. The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research portion of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, has estimated that the Hyde Amendment has saved nearly 2.5 million babies since 1976.
Opponents of Hyde argue that it is discriminatory against poor women of color in that it cuts funds needed to attain an abortion.
Speaker Pelosi spoke about repealing the amendment in December, saying, “I myself have been an opponent of the Hyde Amendment long before I came to Congress, so I would be receptive to that happening. It’s long overdue, getting rid of it, in my view.”
Republican House Minority Leader McCarthy has pledged to oppose Biden’s budget, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who called it “dead on arrival.”
Graham argued the the budget “is insanely expensive. It dramatically increases non-defense spending and taxes. Over time it will result in a weakened Department of Defense.”
The Democratic-supported push to repeal Hyde will face a difficult, uphill battle in the Senate, where the balance of power is 50-50.
“There will be serious discussions about government funding. But the Biden budget isn’t serious, and it won’t be a part of those discussions,” Graham said.