House Democrats are setting the stage to overturn the longstanding ban on taxpayer-funded abortion in anticipation of a Biden administration.
Democrats denounced as racist the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 prohibition on the use of federal funding for abortions, at a Tuesday subcommittee hearing. President-elect Joe Biden supported the amendment throughout his Senate career before flip-flopping during the 2020 Democratic primary, and Democratic lawmakers intend to hold him to his new position opposing the amendment. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.) said any curb on taxpayer funding is “discriminatory.”
“Now is the time to empower all women to be able to make deeply personal life decisions without politicians inserting themselves into the doctor’s office,” DeLauro said.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D., Fla.) described the Hyde Amendment as “one of the best examples” of systemic racism.
“The Supreme Court gave women in Roe v. Wade the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion,” Frankel said. “With the Hyde Amendment, that right is really for people who can afford it.”
Subcommittee Republicans said forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion would violate their First Amendment and conscience rights. Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) said federal funding of abortion is a matter of moral and religious freedom.