With Biden, advocates feel momentum to lift ban on abortion funding
Abortion rights advocates place their hopes in presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe bidenJoe Biden Biden Prepares to Face Putin Ukrainian President thanks G-7 countries for statement of support Biden aims to strengthen troubled relations with Turkey at first Erdoğan meeting MORE to help end a long-standing ban on the use of federal funds for abortion – a policy he has supported for more than 40 years.
Biden reversed his stance by denouncing the so-called Hyde Amendment last year, but his future doesn’t just depend on who wins the White House. Democrats will also need to make major gains in the Senate, retain control of the House and gain support from more moderate Democratic lawmakers on a divisive issue.
Advocates nonetheless believe that there has never been more momentum to end Hyde, which prevents federal programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions, a restriction that disproportionately affects low-income people and women. women of color.
“There is ample evidence that the current is moving in our direction,” said Ronald Newman, national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noting growing support from Democrats in Congress, Biden’s turnaround on the issue and the main defeats of anti-abortion Democrats like Representative Dan Lipinski of Illinois, who supported the ban.
“We consider ourselves to be within striking distance of the finish line at this point.”
The Hyde Amendment is even more harmful during the pandemic, advocates say, as more people enroll in Medicaid after losing their jobs and the recession makes it harder for some to have children. People of color have been disproportionately sickened by COVID-19, and the nation’s moment of counting around police violence and inequalities in the health care system is not separate from the fight to end to the Hyde Amendment, Newman said.
The ban has long been criticized by abortion rights groups as racist and classist because it puts the procedure out of reach of millions of low-income Medicaid registrants. who are more likely to be black and Hispanic due to social and economic inequalities.
The ACLU and abortion rights group All * Above All Action Fund are now pressuring Biden to release a plan of how he would make Hyde a thing of the past if he won the presidency.
“A commitment is a good first step, but we need a concrete plan,” said Morgan Hopkins, director of political strategies at All * Above All Action Fund, one of the groups leading the fight to end the Hyde amendment.
“Women of Color have been trying to end the Hyde Amendment for over 40 years. We have already heard commitments and we are done waiting.
Former President Obama, during his tenure in the White House in 2008, said he opposed the Hyde Amendment, but his budget requests to Congress have always included it. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have consistently voted for spending measures with the abortion restriction.
Obama also supported a provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that prohibited the use of government grants for plans covering abortion in an attempt to gain support from anti-abortion Democrats.
“I think now that we are 10 years after this point and we have a public commitment from the leadership of the House, that this is the final year of the Hyde Amendment, we will no longer be currencies. political exchange, ”Hopkins said.
Hopkins said Biden’s written plan should include promises to send budget requests to Congress without the Hyde Amendment, veto bills that include restrictions on abortion and sign legislation proposed by Rep. . Barbara leeBarbara Jean LeeHundreds of people gather in historic Tulsa church to dedicate prayer wall on anniversary of massacre Overnight Defense: Pentagon presents $ 5 billion budget | Kamala Harris speaks to graduates of the US Naval Academy Pentagon presents $ 5 billion budget with cuts to older weapons MORE (D-Calif.) That would require federal programs to pay for abortions.
A spokesperson for the Biden campaign declined to comment when contacted by The Hill.
Biden has a complicated history with the Hyde Amendment, having supported him throughout his tenure in Congress and his subsequent tenure in the Obama administration. He said last year he still supported the Hyde Amendment, but quickly reversed himself after facing backlash from abortion rights groups.
Even if Biden wins in November, the future of the Hyde Amendment still depends on what happens in the House and Senate races. Democrats are expected to retain control of the House, and some race predictions put them in a good position to topple the Senate.
But any effort to end Hyde would meet stiff opposition from Senate Republicans, who could block funding legislation even if Democrats hold a single-digit majority in the chamber.
If Democrats win the White House and Congress, efforts to end Hyde could also face roadblocks from moderate lawmakers in the swing districts.
“There are of course still people in the districts who may care – our frontliners – who may feel like they are having a harder time voting on the repeal of Hyde,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood.
“And yet they are very clear on the issue and we make sure our job is to support them and make sure they understand that we will fight incredibly hard for our champions.”
In just 10 years, the Democratic Party has radically changed the issue of abortion, advocates say.
“I think it’s really night and day, quite frankly,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The anti-abortion Democrats Obama needed to appease in 2008 are now mostly gone, including Lipinski, who lost her primary earlier this year to businesswoman Marie Newman, a candidate backed by abortion rights groups.
The 116th Congress is often referred to by abortion rights advocates as the first “pro-choice majority”. First-term legislators and representatives. Ayanna pressleyAyanna Pressley Progressives rally with Omar while accusing his detractors of bias. Chicago House candidate claims gun violence prompted her to run Secretary of Labor faces Democratic questions in Chief of Police controversy MORE (D-Mass.) And Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: “the old way of doing politics” influences the thinking of Manchin Ocasio-Cortez: the Democrats of the Senate “block crucial elements in a democratic program” (DN.Y.) brought new energy to the movement, joining veterans such as Lee and Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff Schakowsky Online school raises new concerns over cyberbullying Progressives nearly defeated House Democrats’ Capitol Security Bill Battle lines drawn over Biden’s support for exemptions from vaccine PLUS (D-Ill.) And Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteNick Offerman Testifies Before Congress On Vaccines: “Medicine Doesn’t Care Who You Vote For” Democrats Target Trump Methane Rule With Congressional Review Act Regulator: Evidence Suggests Texas “No has absolutely not followed the recommendations for winterizing electrical equipment PLUS (D-Col.).
Some of this energy is measurable.
A bill introduced by Lee that would require federal health programs to cover abortion and prevent state and local governments from restricting abortion coverage in private insurance plans was co-sponsored by 181 Democrats in the Bedroom.
When the bill was first introduced in 2015, it had fewer than 100 co-sponsors.
A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Tammy duckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy Duckworth Concerns Growing Over China’s Plans in Taiwan China conducts amphibious landing exercise near Taiwan after senators visit the United States and Taiwan to discuss trade and investment, according to Blinken PLUS (D-Ill.), Was first introduced to the Senate last year, but 21 Democrats did not sign the bill.
Democratic control of a chamber does not necessarily guarantee Hyde’s impeachment, however, as the past two years have shown. Even with the Democrats in control of the House, the party retained the Hyde Amendment in the supply bills, scandalizing abortion rights advocates.
Retired representative Nita LoweyNita Sue Lowey Progressives in the lobbying world fight for influence amid an increasingly thin majority Biden must tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East agendas MORE (DN.Y.), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has opposed the Hyde Amendment for decades and is a co-sponsor of Lee’s bill. But Democratic leaders have conceded that removing Hyde from spending bills when Republicans control the Senate and the White House was futile.
President TrumpDonald Trump Biden Prepares To Face Putin Biden Aims To Boost Shady Ties With Turkey In First Erdoğan Meeting Senate inquiry into insurgency fails MORE promised to veto any bill that would nullify “pro-life” protections.
representative Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroNRCC President, Texas Lawmakers Among Top Trust Applicants COVID-19 Crisis May Be Over Soon, But Youth Mental Health Crisis Is Just Beginning Progressives Almost Failed To Fail The Project House Democrats Capitol Security Act PLUS (D-Conn.), Who chairs the Health Spending Appropriations subcommittee and is vying to wave the hammer for the full committee next year, is also a staunch opponent of Hyde and is committed to withdraw it once the Democrats control the White House. and Congress.
But even abortion rights leaders recognize that winning the trifecta does not guarantee victory.
“We are at the tipping point internally. Does that mean we have everyone on board? No, ”Hogue said.
“But we will continue to make progress, and this is something that we are committed to doing at the next Congress.”