Despite demands from several prominent Democrats, the federal government is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
The Hyde Amendment, first included in federal appropriations bills in 1976, prohibits the federal government from funding abortions unless “the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.” Activists estimate that the Hyde Amendment prevents at least 60,000 abortions every year.
The amendment is named for Republican Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who championed it.
Although support for the amendment was initially bipartisan, Democrats in recent years have attempted to pass federal budgets that do not include the provision. President Joe Biden flip-flopped on support for the amendment during his 2020 presidential campaign, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attempted to jettison the provision for an early COVID-19 relief package. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s demand that the Hyde Amendment be included in a social spending package was a key factor in the breakdown in Build Back Better negotiations.