Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, asked the full New York congressional delegation in a July 7 letter on behalf of Cardinal Dolan and the other Catholic bishops of New York “to reject taxpayer funding of abortion, and to oppose appropriations bills that do not include the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and related pro-life policies.”
In May, President Joe Biden released his proposed $6 trillion budget for 2022 without the Hyde Amendment. President Biden first announced in his presidential campaign that he was no longer a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, which he supported as a U.S. senator.
The Hyde Amendment, originally passed in 1976, bans federal funds being used to pay for abortions except to save the life of the woman. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill allowing federal funds be used in abortions if a pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
“For almost half a century, the Hyde Amendment has protected taxpayers from having abortion imposed upon them by forcing them to pay for an act that destroys unborn human lives,” said Poust in his letter to the full New York congressional delegation. “The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, and has said that government may reasonably favor childbirth over abortion and allocate funding accordingly.
“Whatever one’s position on the morality or legality of abortion, we all know it is unique. Indeed, the High Court has said: ‘Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.’ When the federal government subsidizes certain conduct, it encourages the behavior. Through the allocation of their tax dollars, Americans should not be compelled to finance nor encourage the practice of abortion.”
The Hyde Amendment was a bipartisan bill passed by Congress in 1976. The House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 312 to 93. In recent years, Republicans have remained supporters while Democrats are attempting to eliminate the amendment.
“I urge you to partner with us in providing support, funding, and programs to assist pregnant women facing challenging situations, and to empower them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity,” Poust said.
“Again, I implore you to oppose any appropriations bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.”
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark was also among the prelates who expressed their displeasure at the prospect of taxpayer-supported abortion, saying it “represents a failure to recognize the sanctity of human life and promotes a culture in which human life in its most vulnerable moment is perceived as disposable.”
Cardinal Tobin made his comments in a letter to the faithful of the Newark Archdiocese.