- - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed a bill codifying and strengthening “The Hyde Amendment” (H.R.7 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017) yesterday, banning taxpayer funding for abortion.  

As reported by the Washington Times

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican, essentially codifies the Hyde Amendment, a rider that prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions that has been approved by Congress every year since 1976.

The Hyde Amendment has been in place since 1976. Not even Democratic presidents would overturn it. That’s why it was so shocking last year when Hillary Clinton and the DNC supported the ending Hyde

During the debate, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) took to the floor in colorful protest of the bill. Using biblical allusion, which always seems a precarious thing to do when defending abortion, Speier stated:

President Trump once said his favorite book is the Bible. I think he’s writing a new book for the Bible called, The Apocalypse of Women. It’s a reverse Genesis. In the beginning, he divided the country in half with right-wing dog whistles in his Inaugural address. On the second day, he ignored millions of people who marched across American and the world. On the third, he pondered changes to NAFTA and which women’s right’s to trade away. On the fourth day, he reinstated and expanded the global gag rule, risking women’s lives worldwide. Today, he and his House mouthpieces are blocking access to domestic reproductive health coverage, trumpeting alternative facts about legal abortions that have been somehow prevented, some two million of them. Prove it. I shudder to think what will happen tomorrow. And I doubt on the seventh day it will be devoted to rest. We must fight this madness and oppose H.R. 7.

Did you notice what Rep. Speier said? She used the phrase “alternative facts” (now made famous by White House Counsel Kellyanne Conway) to describe something that is factual, not conjecture or spin.

Ironically, the “facts vs. alternative facts” discussion by both Conway and Speier centers on the counting of people. Conway argued that the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration was much higher than news sites had reported. And Speier calls into question the idea that the Hyde Amendment has prevented the death-by-abortion of two million people.

Speier challenges the pro-life community to “prove it.”

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (pro-life) issued a paper last year that quotes from a study done by the Guttmacher Institute (pro-choice) of twenty-two peer-reviewed studies. Here is a clip from the study (entire PDF here):

“There has been a considerable amount of research on the impact of Medicaid funding restriction on the incidence of abortion. A 2009 Guttmacher Institute literature review identified 22studies on this topic (Henshaw et al. 2009). These methodologically diverse studies used abortion data from a variety of sources. Overall, of the 22 studies they considered, 19 found statistically significant evidence that abortion rates fell after Medicaid funding was reduced.”

The study then goes on to use the data gleaned from some of these studies to conclude:

“Using this methodology for every state for every year from 1976 to 2016 we predict that the Hyde Amendment routinely saves over 60,000 lives a year and thus cumulatively has saved 2.13 million lives since 1976.”

For that matter, even the Center for Reproductive Rights stated a figure of “one million” in a report they released in 2010. 

In 2010, the Center for Reproductive Rights released a report titled “Whose Choice? How the Hyde Amendment Harms Poor Women.” The report includes a quote by Stephanie Poggi, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, which states that, “Because of the Hyde Amendment, more than a million women have been denied the ability to make their own decisions.” A number of journalists and commentators have used this one million figure in their reporting on the impact of the Hyde Amendment (Nance 2016; Faulkner 2016).

…They suggested that we contact Stephanie Poggi directly. However, Ms. Poggi no longer works for the National Network of Abortion Funds and could not be reached.

Contrary to Rep. Speier, calling sound abortion statistics “alternative facts” does not change the fact that the Hyde Amendment has saved lives. Supporting abortion rights is her right, but she cannot take away the pro-life celebration of infants saved through righteous public policy.

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