By Tablet Staff
WINDSOR TERRACE — The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the bishops of New York in public policy matters, sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation urging them “to reject taxpayer funding of abortion, and to oppose appropriations bills that do not include the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and related pro-life policies.”
Enacted in 1976, the Hyde Amendment has banned the use of federal Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or the endangerment of a woman’s life. Each annual budget cycle, the Hyde Amendment is renewed in appropriations bills for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Currently, a bill pending in Congress, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or the EACH Act, would end the Hyde Amendment and related abortion restrictions.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is leading a petition to protect the 45-year-old amendment amid growing opposition. After supporting the Hyde Amendment for decades, now-President Joe Biden reversed that support during his presidential campaign last year.
Below is the contents of the letter, dated July 7, that New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Dennis Poust sent to the full New York congressional delegation.
“On behalf of Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Bishops of New York State, I write to urge you to reject taxpayer funding of abortion, and to oppose appropriations bills that do not include the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and related pro-life policies.
“These consensus provisions have been approved year after year by Congress and Presidents of both political parties. For almost half a century, the Hyde Amendment has protected taxpayers from having abortion imposed upon them by forcing them to pay for an act that destroys unborn human lives. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, and has said that government may reasonably favor childbirth over abortion and allocate funding accordingly (Harris v McRae).
“Whatever one’s position on the morality or legality of abortion, we all know it is unique. Indeed, the High Court has said: ‘Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.’ When the federal government subsidizes certain conduct, it encourages the behavior. Through the allocation of their tax dollars, Americans should not be compelled to finance nor encourage the practice of abortion.
“In his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis declared: ‘Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this … It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…’
“I urge you to partner with us in providing support, funding, and programs to assist pregnant women facing challenging situations, and to empower them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity.
“Again, I implore you to oppose any appropriations bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.
“Please know that you and your staff are in my prayers and the prayers of the Bishops as you continue your important work on behalf of our beloved country.
If you would like to sign the petition to save the Hyde Amendment, go to notaxpayerabortion.com .