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House Democrats greenlight federal funding of abortions domestically and internationally

The appropriations bill that leaves out the Hyde Amendment increases federal spending by 28% for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education.

Updated: July 16, 2021 - 10:31pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee have voted to greenlight federal funding of abortions domestically and internationally.

The $253.8 billion appropriations package for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education increases federal spending on those departments by 28% over last year's levels. The bill leaves out the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had called on legislators to include the Hyde Amendment in the legislation before its passage out of the committee. This marks the first time since 1976 the Hyde Amendment could be excluded from the federal budget. It is unclear when the full House will take up the bill.

A Republican amendment introduced by Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole that would have added the Hyde amendment language to the bill was shot down by the Democrats.

"I do recognize that the issue of abortion is emotionally charged and that many Americans have differing points of view," he said. "But even for Americans who consider themselves pro-choice on this issue, many if not most don't believe tax dollars should be used for abortion."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed President Biden and the Democrats for supporting the elimination of the Hyde Amendment during a speech on the Senate floor.

"For decades, nearly his entire career, then-Senator Joe Biden was a reliable supporter of Hyde protections," McConnell said on Thursday. "But a couple of years ago on the presidential campaign trail, our former colleague changed his tune. He let the demands of the increasingly radical left overcome a principle he had held literally for decades."

For 44 years "both parties have agreed the Hyde Amendment is the law of the land," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "Today the Democrat Party has shown just how radical they have become."

Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate the longstanding Helms Amendment in a $62 billion foreign aid bill it passed. The amendment prevents taxpayer funds from paying for abortions outside of the U.S.

"The Helms Amendment has been a tenet of American policy for decades, one supported by Helms and Joe Biden when he was in the Senate," said Brian Rogers, president of the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, N.C. "In my view, this push by the left today to end human life is abundantly inhumane and horribly racist."

Democratic lawmakers who oppose the Helms Amendment and Hyde Amendment, such as House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), argue that they discriminate against low-income and minority women abroad by denying them U.S. funding for abortion. 

"The Hyde amendment is a discriminatory policy," DeLauro said on Thursday.