Today, January 24, 2017, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R.7 by a vote of 238 to 183, making the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions through Medicaid.
“We are a pro-life Congress,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement. “Today we renewed our commitment to the Hyde Amendment with the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. I want to thank Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) for his tireless commitment to this cause. This legislation protects the conscience of American taxpayers by ensuring that not a single dollar of their hard-earned money goes to fund abortions. As hundreds of thousands of Americans flock to Washington for the March for Life, we must never forget that defending all of our people – especially the defenseless – must be our top priority if we want to be a good and moral nation.”
The Hyde Amendment has saved over 2 million lives since it was first enacted in 1976, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Each year, Congress has renewed the amendment, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act simply removes that need, and allows for more transparency on abortion coverage in health plans including the Affordable Care Act.
A January 2017 Marist poll shows that 61% of Americans are against the funding of abortions with tax dollars.
— Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) January 24, 2017
Democrats spoke out against the act, including Democrat California Rep. Linda Sanchez who said she is “sick and tired of […] men dictating to women as if we are stupid.”
In addition, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), went so far as to suggest President Trump is writing a “new book” of the Bible and compared him to an evil god. However, women worked right alongside men to pass this measure, and they praised H.R.7.
Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) gave an impassioned speech on the House floor prior to the passage of H.R.7 saying, “It is our enduring responsibility to protect the unborn, and it is imperative we get this right.”
Representative Diane Black (R-TN) said, “It was just a week ago that the groups of women marched in the streets of D.C. and other cities across the country, apparently ready to write off this presidency as it just began. But there were millions of pro-life women who were explicitly told that they were unwelcome at this event. So today, the people’s House is giving them, and the more than 60% of Americans from all political persuasions who oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, a voice.”
In addition, Rep. Virginia Foxx,(R-NC) called H.R.7 a “common-sense measure,” and Rep. Roby reminded her colleagues that “the one voice not heard today is that of the baby.”
While the Hyde Amendment includes an exception for abortions committed in cases of rape or incest, it is a big step forward for the pro-life movement and for American taxpayers.