Pelosi Says It Would be ‘Unfairness for Women’ Not to Make Taxpayers Pay for Abortion

Terence P. Jeffrey | December 10, 2020 | 12:11pm EST
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(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at her weekly press briefing today that she has opposed the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits federal funding of most abortions—ever since it was first enacted and hopes to kill it in the coming year because she sees the lack of federal funding for abortions as an "unfairness for women."

A reporter asked Pelosi whether she intended to bring up a vote in the full House on repealing the Hyde Amendment.

“I myself have been an opponent of the Hyde Amendment long before I came to Congress,” she said. “So, I would be receptive to that happening. Yes.”

“The American people know that we have to have fairness in what we do,” Pelosi said. “And this is not an issue of the Hyde Amendment, it is an issue as to the impact that it has in terms of unfairness to women in our country.

“So, this will be an interesting debate, again, respectful of all views, but nonetheless, again, way before I was in Congress--as soon as the Hyde Amendment was there--I was thinking: How can we get rid of that?” she said.

“So, it’s long overdue getting rid of it, in my view,” Pelosi said.

A report published in 2019 by the Congressional Research Service summarized what the Hyde Amendment and similar provisions of federal law do.

“Since Roe, Congress has attached abortion funding restrictions to various appropriations measures,” said the CRS. “The greatest focus has arguably been on restricting Medicaid abortions under the annual appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services. This restriction is commonly referred to as the ‘Hyde Amendment’ because of its original sponsor.

“Similar restrictions affect the appropriations for other federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, where federal funds may not be used to perform abortions in the federal prison system, except in cases of rape or if the life of the mother would be endangered,” said the CRS report.

“Hyde-type amendments also have an impact in the District of Columbia, where federal and local funds may not be used to perform abortions except in cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered, and affect international organizations like the United Nations Population Fund, which receives funds through the annual Foreign Operations appropriations measure,” said CRS.

The Hyde Amendment, according to CRS, was first enacted in 1976 as part of the fiscal 1977 Departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare Appropriations Act.

Here is a transcript of the exchange Pelosi had about the Hyde Amendment at her press briefing today:

Pelosi: “Yes, sir.”

Reporter: “Madame Speaker, this week, Congresswoman DeLauro, the incoming chair of the Appropriations Committee, held a hearing on repealing the Hyde Amendment.”

Pelosi: “Yes.”

Reporter: “Will a bill repealing the Hyde Amendment come up for a vote before the whole House in 2021?”

Pelosi: “Well, I don’t know if it will be a bill to do that, but it will be part of legislation, yes. I mean, I myself have been an opponent of the Hyde Amendment long before I came to Congress. So, I would be receptive to that happening. Yes.”

Reporter: “Will the outcome of the control of the Senate [control] what the House does, or will the House proceed on the Hyde Amendment, however?”

Pelosi: “Well, you know, again, our biggest partner in all of this are the American people, are the American people, and the American people know that we have to have fairness in what we do. And this is not an issue of the Hyde Amendment, it is an issue as to the impact that it has in terms of unfairness to women in our country. So, this will be an interesting debate, again, respectful of all views, but nonetheless, again, way before I was in Congress--as soon as the Hyde Amendment was there--I was thinking: How can we get rid of that? So, it’s long overdue getting rid of it, in my view.”

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