Rep. Rosa DeLauro: Hyde Amendment Discriminates Against Women of Color

hairwoman Rosa DeLauro speaks as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield testifies when Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee holds a hearing on "COVID-19 Response" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 4, 2020. (Photo by TASOS KATOPODIS / POOL …
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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said Tuesday the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding of most abortions, is a “discriminatory policy” because many women of color lack the funding to obtain an abortion.

During a hearing of a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, DeLauro said in her opening statement that even though “Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land … for too long, some women in this country have been denied their right to an abortion.”

DeLauro, who will chair the full House Appropriations Committee in January, added the Hyde Amendment is having a negative impact on women’s “economic, mental and physical well-being”:

We know that without insurance coverage of abortion, a legal health care procedure, they face costs more than $500 on average, but can exceed $1,000 depending on where they live, and the type of abortion. This does not include out of pocket expenses like childcare, time off from work and travel. These costs are prohibitive for too many women.

The majority’s witnesses — all representatives of groups for abortion rights — echoed the same view.

Ranking member Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), however, observed the Hyde Amendment “has saved the lives of over two million people since it was first adopted in 1976, most of them people of color.”

He explained further that, prior to the enactment of the Hyde Amendment, the Medicaid program was paying for nearly 300,000 abortions each year, and that the provision now enjoys bipartisan support.

“The Hyde Amendment protects the conscience rights of the great majority of Americans who are opposed to publicly funded abortion for religious, moral, or simply fiscal reasons,” Cole added.

Christina Bennett, communications director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, served as witness for the minority. Bennett told her own story of her mother’s decision not to abort her after she received support and encouragement.

She commented on the devastating effects of abortion on the black community.

“It’s not racist to preserve black lives,” she observed, challenging the testimony of Dr. Herminia Palacio, CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, who referred to the Hyde Amendment as “a racist policy.”

“This hearing is more evidence that the abortion industry is looking to cash in on their political investment in this election,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America Action, in a statement.

She added that abortion rights activists have “called for new taxpayer funding for abortion and an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has had bipartisan support from abortion extremists like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for years.”

“The vast majority of the abortion vendors have set up shop in minority neighborhoods, which can be seen in the scarce statistics available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Hawkins said. “Though they are only 13% of the female population, African Americans made up 38% of all abortions tracked in 2016.”

“Americans consistently say that they don’t want to pay for all abortions in the United States, which is what getting rid of the Hyde Amendment is all about,” she stated. “And pro-life Americans celebrate the fact that the Hyde Amendment has saved more than two million lives since 1976.”

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