The Corner

George Weigel on the Hyde Amendment

A little history and reality from his latest column

Their achievement, however, is not secure. The Hyde Amendment, although deemed constitutional, still had to be re-enacted in every Congress, every year following Harris v. McRae—a fact of legislative history that raises the most serious questions about the Obama administration’s claim that the Hyde Amendment is such “settled law” that it need not be replicated in the various legislative iterations of Obamacare. The administration’s “deal” with certain Democratic congressmen to include a Hyde Amendment-type ban on abortion funding through a presidential executive order is the thinnest of barriers—some would say, a non-existent barrier—against claims that abortion is a “necessary” form of health care that requires taxpayer funding. That some Catholic members of Congress and some Catholic health-care advocates have fallen for this sleight-of-hand reflects either grave misunderstanding of the law or bad faith.The Hyde Amendment is a continual bone in the throat of abortion advocates, who once followed Henry Hyde to Mass in their efforts to “prove” that his amendment was the product of Catholic hocus-pocus. They won’t down tools in this fight. Neither should the defenders of Harris v. McRae.

House Republicans are committed to doing their part to make Hyde permanent and universal, should they get the reins in the House, as John Boehner made clear here

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