Fearing House Democrats, anti-abortion groups protect ban on abortion funding

By | November 8, 2018

Anti-abortion groups fear that Democrats taking the majority in the House of Representatives next year will pursue a long-held goal of expanding federal funding for abortion by ending the Hyde Amendment, language barring funding for abortion regularly attached to spending bills.

“The pro-life movement cannot be complacent,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony’s List, said in a statement Wednesday. “We must be prepared to fight to hold the line on important pro-life policies such as the Hyde Amendment.”

Democrats so far have not announced a push to end that amendment, and abortion rights groups have not said they are going to push leadership to go after the amendment. Any attempt to end Hyde would also likely die in the Senate, where Republicans have expanded their 51-seat majority by a handful of seats, and any measure would need 60 votes.

Anti-abortion groups, however, are still worried about a push from Democrats to cut off the ban.

Other anti-abortion groups echoed Dannenfelser’s concern.

“The President should issue an immediate veto threat any time standing pro-life policies, for example the Hyde amendment, are stripped from legislation,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the group March for Life.

Democrats have increasingly focused on repealing the Hyde Amendment. The 2016 Democratic Party platform called for the end of the amendment. A disagreement over applying Hyde language to new funding to stabilize Obamacare’s insurance exchanges torpedoed a bipartisan market stabilization package in March.

But Democrats have not immediately called for repealing Hyde since Tuesday’s victory. In post-election statements, they’ve instead focused on greater oversight of the Trump administration and tackling high drug prices.

Officials with Planned Parenthood declined to say if the women’s health and abortion provider would call on Democrats to repeal Hyde when they assume the House next year.

“We are focused on making sure that women have access to abortion care regardless of where the live, where their income is or who they are,” said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We are looking at working on that.”

The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America did not return a request for comment on the Hyde Amendment.

NARAL did say in a memo on Wednesday that the Democratic takeover represents a “pro-choice” majority.

Healthcare