As our nation seeks to blunt the effects of the coronavirus, Congress passed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” on March 18. The multi-billion dollar measure provides for free testing for anyone and paid leave for workers whose employment is affected by fear of the disease. After House approval, the Senate followed with its passage of the measure with a lopsided 90-8 vote.
During congressional consideration of the Act, vigilant pro-life partisans exposed an attempt by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to insert into the House version of the bill a provision that would have diverted $1 billion to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood.The Speaker is so rabidly pro-abortion that she would even work underhandedly to have American taxpayers pay for the taking of innocent lives in the womb.
Pelosi’s slippery maneuvering involved skirting the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition of federal funding of healthcare matters including abortion except to save the life of the mother, or if the pregnancy arises because of rape or incest. Passed in 1976, it has stopped federal funding of approximately 300,000 abortions annually. The Hyde Amendment didn’t end abortion but the American people weren’t being forced to pay for the grisly practice.
Over the years, there have been numerous attempts by abortion favoring lawmakers to cancel or diminish the effect of the Hyde amendment. Likewise, there have been numerous attempts to strengthen it. In January 2017, the U.S. House passed a measure that would have made permanent the restrictions associated with the Hyde prohibition. Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded his House colleagues but the measure died when the Senate failed to consider it.
Supporters of the Hyde measure maintain that it protects the rights of taxpayers who are opposed to abortion. The Federalist estimates that the measure has saved the lives of two million healthy fetuses. But opponents continue to fight for repeal, claiming that the entire matter is based on the religious attitudes of some and the government should not favor the religion of some at the expense of the those who are non-religious. People who oppose abortion may be practicers of religion, but abortion is a medical practice. Some pro-lifers are non-religious.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, pointed out that ”health-related funds” (such as the taxpayer money to fight the corona virus) are ”always life-affirming.” She congratulated President Trump and those who discovered the Pelosi maneuver and removed it from the measure designed to fight the coronavirus.
So determined is Pelosi to have taxpayers fund abortion that she tried several different ways to include her wish in the measure. One of her claims insisted that some of the money should be earmarked to reimburse claims filed by laboratories. This was general enough and free of any mention of abortion that it could have resulted in money going to abortion providers for their lab work. But her claim was a ruse and it was rejected.
The Speaker’s attempt to have all American taxpayers fund abortion failed in this instance. The sneaky attempt to ignore the Hyde Amendment was thwarted. The Daily Caller quoted one White House official who wondered ”what the Hyde Amendment and abortion have to do with protecting Americans from the coronavirus?” The answer, of course, is nothing.
The entire matter, a victory for pro-life forces, shows once again how intensely Nancy Pelosi remains as an abortion advocate even while insisting she’s a committed Catholic. She’s not alone in backing the practice. But knowing that her attempt to steer money designated to fight the coronavirus into the hands of those who kill babies turned out to be a failure. That is very welcome news.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.