As Democrats struggle to muster enough votes to pass President Biden’s radical $5 trillion spending plan, abortion funding has emerged as one of the most controversial issues dividing the party. Specifically, whether or not the bill contains the decades-old Hyde Amendment could determine if the legislation ultimately succeeds or fails. Named after former Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortion.
While more moderate Democrats like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are insisting that the final bill contain the Hyde Amendment, progressives are eager to break with precedent and clear the way for the federal government to provide massive funding for abortions for the first time ever. Manchin has called the issue a “red line” for him, insisting, “Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde Amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on.” Meanwhile, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, has said she would not support the bill if it does include the Hyde Amendment, setting the stage for a showdown that could threaten final passage of the entire spending plan.
The conflict over abortion within the Democratic Party has been brewing for some time as progressive leaders continue to shift the ideological center of the party further and further leftward. Now, while a few old-school Democrats like Manchin are still interested in at least appearing to acknowledge that there should be some limits on abortion—including a prohibition on taxpayers being forced to finance them —it looks as if the Bill Clinton days when the unofficial position of the Democrat Party was that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare” are gone forever. Instead, Democrats now make grotesque claims that abortion is an “act of love” and a “basic human right,” insisting that the federal government must force states to allow even late-term abortions without any restrictions.
That dramatic shift was also on full display at Congressional hearings on September 30, which Democrats entitled “A State of Crisis: Examining the Urgent Need to Protect and Expand Abortion Rights and Access.” The hearings, which were in response to a new Texas law that made abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, featured testimony from women who are ostensible “experts” on the issue.
According to one, the new Texas abortion law “has made it extremely dangerous to be pregnant in Texas.” As if that weren’t an absurd enough statement, the same woman also said that “abortion saves lives” and “abortion is a blessing, abortion is an act of love, abortion is freedom.”
Another witness conflated Democrats’ crusade to legalize all abortions with their attempt to redefine gender, insisting that “people get pregnant, and not just women. But I hear people over and over and over again say ‘women get pregnant.’ But that’s excluding people that should be a part of this conversation.” Such testimony from Democrat witnesses makes clear that the Biden administration’s replacement of “mothers” with “birthing persons” in maternal health guidance was not a passing craze for Democrats.
While such statements are likely shocking to many Americans, Donald Trump and Mike Pence both predicted as much during last year’s campaign. In Pence’s speech at the Republican National Convention last August, he asserted that Biden “supports taxpayer funding of abortion, right up to the moment of birth.” Trump similarly warned during one campaign stop that Biden supported “extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”
While the liberal media derided the former president for such statements, pointing to Biden’s past backing of some restrictions on abortion, it is clear that Trump was right and Biden has now adopted the radical position on abortion shared by the likes of Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, underscoring just how much of a grip the progressive moment has on the Democratic Party. After decades of supporting the Hyde Amendment as a Senator, Biden suddenly declared last year, “I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code…Folks, times have changed. I don’t think these guys are gonna let up.”
Democrats and Republicans alike thus should not have been surprised when, just a few days ago, now President Biden said he would sign a reconciliation bill whether it included the Hyde Amendment or not.
The radical transformation of the party is complete. Today’s Democrat Party has moved far beyond where it was during the days of President Bill Clinton, and even President Barack Obama. And now, with Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar spending plan, they want to take it one step further, compelling every American to fund abortion through their hard-earned tax dollars, whether they agree with the practice or not. The Democratic Party is no longer the party of abortion extremism. It is the party of abortion absolutism.
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