In 1977, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment with bi-partisan support, and since that time its action has protected millions of vulnerable human lives. An accelerating political movement to end Hyde requires the support of Catholics to preserve its defense of human life and dignity against the offense of abortion.
The Hyde Amendment was created in response to the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, the sweeping judicial action which nullified existing law prohibiting abortion in all 50 states. As the number of abortions performed nationwide began a dramatic escalation, public money to cover the cost of an abortion procedure was available through federal funding and services. In response to the public reaction to the moral controversy surrounding abortion, as well as obligating the public to pay for it with their tax dollars, Congress designed the Hyde Amendment to tightly restrict the provision of federal funding for abortion.
Since 1977 the moral controversy surrounding abortion has not subsided. Every abortion ends the life of a developing human being, a reality validated by biology and science and confirmed by technology. The Supreme Court has recognized that “abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures,” and has made the distinction even more specific over time. In the years since the creation of the Hyde Amendment the Court has consistently preserved the government’s interest in promoting the “respect for life, including the life of the unborn.” The amendment affirms that respect, and it is the foundation on which it rests.
With the support of the Supreme Court and public consensus, Hyde has remained in place for more than 40 years. It has protected the public from participating in abortion and spared the lives of millions of society’s most anonymous and vulnerable. It has acted as a good and faithful servant of our mission as Catholics to preserve human life and dignity and protect both from the violence and discrimination abortion represents.
The USCCB asks Catholics to be watchful and take advantage of opportunities to support the Hyde Amendment, to insure it survives and continues to protect those we are obligated to defend.