Biden leaves Hyde Amendment out of budget
President Biden’s sprawling $6 trillion budget unveiled Friday does not include the controversial Hyde Amendment, delivering on a campaign promise to try to scrap the ban on federal funding for abortions.
The decision not to include the Hyde Amendment comes after criticism of Biden on the campaign trail pushed him to backtrack his previous support for the prohibition of federal dollars funding the procedure.
“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” Biden said in 2019 after coming under fire from other presidential contenders.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right,” he said.
Biden has come under further pressure to back abortion rights as the Supreme Court hears a dispute over a Mississippi law that bans virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a case that could diminish Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that first legalized abortion at a federal level.
Abortion rights advocates hailed the Hyde Amendment’s absence from the White House’s budget as a victory, saying the prohibition prevents low-income women from accessing the procedure.
“Today’s budget marks a historic step toward finally ending the coverage bans that have pushed abortion care out of reach and perpetuated inequality for decades,” said Georgeanne Usova, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “With abortion access under unprecedented attack around the country, lifting discriminatory barriers to care is a matter of racial and economic justice that cannot wait. No one should be denied abortion care because of where they live, how much money they have, or how they get insurance.”
Opponents of abortion access, meanwhile, condemned the budget.
“Once a supporter of policies that protect the lives of the unborn and their mothers, President Biden today caters to the most extreme voices within his party. The majority of Americans remain opposed to taxpayer-funded abortion. We urge our congressional allies to be fearless in fighting to preserve the common-ground Hyde principle and to reject any budget that omits vital pro-life protections,” the Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement.
A budget that does not contain the Hyde Amendment is unlikely to ultimately pass in Congress given Republicans’ broad support for the ban as well as similar views from some Democrats.