Bishop Olson urges quick response in support of maintaining Hyde Amendment protections
FORT WORTH — Bishop Michael Olson on May 31 called upon the faithful to visit NoTaxpayerAbortion.com to sign a petition in opposition of removing Hyde Amendment protections from the United States' fiscal year 2022 proposed budget. The hope, Bishop Olson said, is for millions of Catholics to sign the petition.
Bishop Olson further urged parishioners to contact their congressional representatives and senators to express protection of the unborn and their parents “from the evil of state-funded abortion.”
Bishop Olson’s call came in the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s budget proposal, which the president released the same day. Biden’s $6 trillion proposal dropped the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life policies in federal programs.
The amendment, sponsored by former U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Illinois, passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. It bans the use of federally funded abortions unless necessary to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. The amendment has enjoyed bipartisan support throughout the years including support from Biden during his 36 years in the Senate. Biden reversed his decision while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019.
To remain in effect, the Hyde Amendment must be approved each year as a rider to a spending bill.
The amendment, Bishop Olson said, has been credited with saving more than 2.4 million children over the past 45 years.
“Without it, billions of taxpayer dollars could go to abortion,” Bishop Olson said. “That means abortions would be cheaper, easier, promoted, and funded with our taxpayer dollars furthering a violent culture in which vulnerable human life is thrown away.”
Bishop Olson cited Pope Francis’ September address to the United Nations in which the pope decried promotion of abortion by some countries and international institutions as a so-called essential service in the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Olson said it is “critically important for Catholics to send a strong and clear message” to Congress in support of keeping the Hyde Amendment.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also expressed deep concerns over Biden’s proposal.
“No member of our great nation is weaker, more vulnerable, or less protected than the child in the womb,” Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities said. “Taxpayer-funded abortion represents a failure to serve women in their maternity by funding despair and death instead of hope and life.”
University of Dallas History Chair Susan Hanssen compared the pro-life movement to the Civil Rights movement in the sense that both were “founded to call America back home to its founding ideals — the equal value placed on the dignity of every human life.”
Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, arrived via judicial fiat rather than through democratic or legislative process, Hanssen said.
“But the Hyde Amendment saves us ordinary tax-paying Catholics from participating in this great national moral evil,” Hanssen said. “At least we could assure ourselves our tax dollars were not funding the slaughter of innocents.
“If Biden repeals the Hyde Amendment, he is repealing a document that has been the basis of a great national compromise.”
Texas Alliance For Life Executive Director Joe Pojman also expressed concern over Biden’s proposal despite the 50/50 U.S. Senate split and possibility of moderate Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, voting against the proposal.
“We have a president who is all too willing to sign new legislation into law that would re-fund the abortion industry and a media and very active abortion movement in Texas who want to re-fund the abortion industry,” Pojman said.
“We appreciate the leadership of Bishop Olson, the USCCB, and Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops in stepping up very quickly in response to the goals of the Biden/Harris Administration to fund the abortion industry,” he added.
Republican lawmakers are expected to work for the reinstatement of the Hyde Amendment during budget negotiations.
Should Biden’s proposal pass it could not be challenged as with other legislation, given that the U.S. Supreme Court already held the amendment as constitutional thereby leaving its implementation to the federal government.
Pojman noted that annual abortions have dropped by 24,000 per year in Texas since 2011. He went on to call Bishop Olson’s citing of the 2.4 million lives saved to date by the Hyde Amendment incredible.
“It’s very sobering, very frightening to think what would happen if the abortion industry is re-funded,” Pojman said. “If the amendment is stricken, we can expect a substantial jump in annual abortions.”