Monday, January 13, 2014

Hyde Amendment - Where Is It Now?

By Carol Downer

Where is this year’s version of the Hyde Amendment, a rider that Congress tacks on the Appropriations Bill?  In the House, it was in the “Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice” until Thursday, January 9, until Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton announced that the Republican-controlled Committee had decided to send a “message bill”, a way that gets around having to send the proposed legislation to the full House for debate and a vote.

Norton shed a spotlight on the hearing on this nasty piece of proposed legislation which expands the usual Hyde Amendment prohibition of federal monies to fund Medicaid abortions, when she spoke from the House floor to complain about the Committee’s chairman,Trent Franks (R) not having permitted her to speak before the Committee hearing even though her district would be directly impacted by the proposed bill which would prohibit the District of Columbia from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women, and define the D.C. government as part of the federal government for the purposes of abortion.

In the Senate, the Hyde Amendment has been lying dormant in the “Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee” since January 24, 2013.  This legislation’s sponsor is Senator Robert “Bob” Casey, Jr. (D, PA). Casey, this Democrat who is a liberal on all other issues than abortion, was given the dubious honor of leading the Democrat-controlled Senate in this war on women.

Now, leaders of both parties are expected to meet secretly and hammer out a much-delayed budget agreement and avoid another government shutdown. Somehow the House and Senate Appropriations Bills will appear magically containing some or all of the prohibitions of abortion funding listed in these two bills with no legislator’s name on it, and most, if not all, of the members of the House and the Senate will okay the budget.

Once again, the Hyde Amendment will get its annual lease on life, and we won’t be able to hold anyone accountable except the outspoken anti-choice legislators.

Whenever a pro-choice advocate talks about “repealing” the Hyde Amendment, you can bet that they know that the Hyde Amendment is a rider that lives only a year and it has to be re-attached each year, but they don’t want to risk revealing that for 38 years, no matter who was in power in the Congress, both Republicans and Democrats have voted for it.

The old saying is that no one would eat sausage if they could see how it’s made. This week - the money runs out Wednesday - the sausage-making is happening, and women will be the losers.

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