On the Chopping Block: The Hyde Amendment
Updated: Aug 12, 2021
As of today, August 2nd, 2021, the United States House of Representatives has passed a federal budget and it is currently being considered in the United States Senate. This is a normal, yearly activity in Congress. Congress passes a budget and sends it to the President to be signed into law.
But something extraordinary sets the year’s budget proposal apart...it was sent from the House of Representatives to the Senate without the Hyde or the Helms amendments.
But, what are these amendments and why should it concern Christians?
Fundamentally, these federal budgetary amendments prohibit taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions (Domestically and Internationally).
In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States of America handed down their landmark decision that is famously known as Roe v. Wade. The court “found” (invented) a woman’s right to abortion in the Constitution.
Knowing that such a decision violated a majority of the consciences of Americans, Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois proposed, what has come to be known as, the Hyde amendment, prohibiting federal funds from being used in abortions. It is suggested that some 300,000 abortions annually were funded by taxpayer monies until the Hyde Amendment went into effect.
Since its passage in 1976, it has been included on every federal budget...until now.
The Democratically controlled House of Representatives has passed a Budget leaving off these protective measures, and now the bill resides in the Senate where the Democrats also have control. And through a parliamentary procedure known as Budget Reconciliation, they could use Vice-President Harris’ vote to get it through with any Republican support.
-President Joe Biden, who before being elected President, served as a United States Senator from Delaware from January of 1973 until January of 2009 when he became Vice-President of the United States. That’s 36 years...and for a little context, Richard Nixon was President when Biden entered the Senate.
For all 36 years of his Senate career, and then for another 8 years as Vice-President, Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment.
-But that all changed as the Presidency loomed for him in 2019-20. As Al Mohler notes, due to political pressure, Joe Biden reversed his 44-year-old position in a matter of hours. He went from supporting the Hyde amendment for over 4 decades to opposing it in just a few hours time.
Why? Because he would not have been able to garner the support from the most liberal wing of the Democratic party without changing. It was political maneuvering, plain and simple. But why does that matter?
It matters because there is a very real chance a federal budget proposal could arrive on his desk, having made it through both chambers of the United States Congress, that lacks those protective Hyde and Helms amendments. And Biden has made clear he intends to sign such a budget into law.
And if he does...if he signs such a budget into law with those amendments attached, that means federal tax money will once again be flowing to agencies like Planned Parenthood to fund abortions.
How does the Church Respond?
First, we pray. We pray that God would intervene in some way to restore those protective amendments.
We must pray that God would bring an end to abortion...period.
We must pray for women who think abortion is their only option.
We must pray that the gospel of hope is heard loud and clear.
Second, we act.
Call your Representative or Senator. Make sure your voice is being heard.
We love and serve our community. Right here, in Roxboro, we have a wonderful ministry called Life Choices that seeks to stand for life by standing between innocent life in the womb and the murderous abortion clinics. Praise God for them.
We make the gospel known, in word and in deed.
Third, we trust God.
1 Cor. 13:12 reminds us that we cannot see the whole picture right now...but God does. And Psalm 119:68 reminds that God only does what is good.
In his classic book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer notes that we can trust God, for He is all-powerful (omnipotent) and all-wise (omniscient). And we can trust Him because His power is governed by His wisdom. Infinite power controlled by infinite and perfect wisdom. What a promise!
Let's be faithful to pray...