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Hiding Behind Hyde

by Michael Hichborn

Through the long struggle between the cultures of life and death, the Hyde Amendment has been propped up by both sides as the real field of battle. Many pro-life politicians speak with great aplomb about the need to codify Hyde into law because it supposedly bans the use of federal funds for abortion, while pro-abortion politicians shriek that Hyde deprives women of their “right to an abortion.” The fact of the matter is that Hyde does neither of these things, and does almost nothing but offer a smokescreen for the real problem.

Above all else, the Hyde Amendment does allow federal funds to pay for abortions because it has exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother written into it. So, anyone who claims that it is illegal to use federal funds to pay for abortion because of Hyde is either lying or ignorant.

Furthermore, even if the Hyde Amendment were a firm and air-tight statement that “no federal funds may be used to pay for abortion, without exceptions of any kind,” it would still be nothing but a ruse. The federal government has a number of funding codes that subsidize abortion mills through family planning programs. Title X federal funding and Medicaid reimbursements regularly go to organizations like Planned Parenthood to cover their expenses for their condoms, birth control pills, sex education programs, and related items.

Here’s the problem: While participating in government family planning programs, Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s largest abortion chain. Regardless of the restrictions on how the federal funds are spent, any money going to Planned Parenthood frees up other available funds to be spent on abortion.

One way to understand this is through an analogy. Suppose a street beggar with a drug addiction is told by the federal government that it will give him money to buy food and live in a house—on condition that he cannot use the government money to buy drugs. The beggar agrees that not one cent of that government money will be used to buy drugs. So, he takes the government money and buys groceries and pays rent to live in a house. However, he is still collecting money by begging on the streets, and since he no longer needs to use that money to pay for food and shelter, the money he raises through begging can now be used to buy more drugs. The conditional use of the funds not only failed to prevent his purchase of more drugs, but it freed up enough of his begging funds to buy more drugs than he could buy on his own.

American Life League has been leading the charge to defund Planned Parenthood for years, and we now have the best chance ever to make this goal a reality. Our latest video report, Hiding Behind Hyde, explains, with clear illustrations, how federal funds are directly connected to Planned Parenthood’s ever-expanding abortion business. And American Life League’s new Defunding Planned Parenthood Action Center provides all the resources and tools you need to tell Congress that now is the time to end Planned Parenthood’s tax funding.

Michael Hichborn is a senior researcher and host of the American Life League Report.