The Hyde Amendment, Explained

By Craig Miller

What is the Hyde Amendment?

The Hyde Amendment (often referred to simply as Hyde) is a provision in every federal budget bill passed since 1976 that bans federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. 

The ban did not go into effect until 1980, due to court challenges. The major impact is on the combined state and federal low income assistance program known as Medicaid, which is barred from funding abortions. The late Henry Hyde, for whom the bill is named, was an Illinois member of the House of Representatives.

Is the Hyde Amendment a law?

No, the funding ban must be introduced in every federal budget-related bill. Attempts to make Hyde permanent have failed.

Does Hyde prevent states from funding abortion?

No, states are allowed to us their own funds to pay for abortion. Currently seventeen states do so.

Has Hyde saved lives?

Emphatically, yes! Research by the Charlotte Lozier Institute in 2016 demonstrates that due to Hyde, two million babies were saved. In addition, the research concluded that 60,000 babies a year are saved.

What is the Biden Administration’s Position?

In 2016, the Democratic Party platform broke with its long standing policy and called for the repeal of Hyde, essentially excluding the provision from future Federal budgets.  During the 2020 Presidential campaign, candidate Joe Biden reversed his long standing support for Hyde.  He and Vice President Harris are expected to oppose future Hyde provisions. 

The $1.9 trillion Covid Relief Act passed in January of 2021 broke the forty year tradition and allowed for federal abortion funding. Attempts to amend the bill failed due to parliamentary procedures. Many fear that this is a harbinger of a concerted effort by the Biden Administration to end Hyde. 

Craig B Miller an ordained rabbi serves as a Board member of Democrats for Life of America. He runs Black Rabbit Marketing a Strategic Planning with clients in alternative health coverage, aerospace, politics, and internet technology. He lives in Passaic, NJ with his wife, two dogs, and two rabbits. He is serving his fourth term as an elected Board of Education Commissioner, overseeing a district of over 18,000 students and staff.