The Hyde Amendment has been federal policy since 1976, passed each year as a rider to budget bills. It bars federal funding of elective abortions. Biden, joining other Democratic leaders, came out in opposition to the policy in 2019 and has promised to repeal it.
Psaki responded that Biden’s “view on the Hyde Amendment is well-known” and that she did not “have anything new for you” on the matter of abortion funding in COVID relief.
Congress is currently working to pass a COVID relief package which funds health care and economic relief as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s relief proposal asked for nearly $2 trillion in spending.
Pro-life groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), have warned that the relief proposal in the House does not have necessary Hyde Amendment-type provisions that would protect against funding of abortions.
As proposed in the plan, new health care spending—$750 million in funding for global health, billions of dollars for community health centers, $50 million for the Title X family planning program, and funding for COBRA coverage—does not have prohibitions on funding of abortion, SBA List has warned. Thus, it could result in increased funding of abortions, abortion coverage, and abortion providers.
Congressional Democratic leaders have already signaled that they intend to pass COVID relief with or without Republican support.
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Last week, Republican members of the House introduced pro-life amendments during reconciliation markups, the process by which Congress is passing relief package. One measure introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) sought to prohibit funding of abortion coverage in COBRA, or subsidized health coverage for unemployed people.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced a provision to bar funding of abortions, during a reconciliation markup in the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Another proposal by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) attempted to redirect the $50 million for Title X to youth suicide prevention. As the Biden administration is expected to allow Title X funding of groups that refer for abortions, Lesko argued that the additional relief funding should not go to pro-abortion groups.