Is the Hyde Amendment Safe After All?

Joe Biden speaks at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa, June 11, 2019. (Jordan Gale/Reuters)Don’t bet on it.

Nearly four out of ten Democratic primary voters support the Hyde amendment, the ban on federal funding for elective abortions under Medicaid. But following Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s flip-flop last week, none of the twenty-plus Democrats running for president support the measure.

Not to worry, columnist Bill Scher advises pro-lifers: “The Hyde Amendment Isn’t Going Anywhere.” Scher writes at RealClearPolitics: “Democratic presidential nominees always campaign on repealing the amendment, yet Democratic presidents never actually work toward repeal — because if they did, they would lose the fight.”

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The Hyde amendment was first passed in 1976 by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president (Jimmy Carter), but the last two Democratic presidents who opposed the Hyde amendment (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) did weaken the law governing taxpayer-funding of abortion. They did not repeal the Hyde amendment for a simple reason: They didn’t have the votes, despite strong Democratic congressional majorities.

The House, in 1993, strongly supported the Hyde amendment once exceptions for the cases of rape and incest were added. In 2009,

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