The Hyde Amendment and the sanctity of life

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For nearly half a century – since 1976 – every year the Hyde Amendment and related provisions have been reenacted in order to prevent taxpayers from funding elective abortions. These policies have broad support from both Democrats and Republicans and have been enacted and signed into law by members of Congress and presidents of both political parties.

Since the first century the Catholic Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion and has condemned the grave offense of formal cooperation in an abortion. Since the flawed and controversial Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 ruled in favor of a “right to privacy” (but not absolute) for a pregnant woman’s right to choose an abortion, abortion has benefitted from legal status to varying degrees but has not become any more moral. For this reason I am deeply concerned about and oppose opening the floodgates to taxpayer subsidized abortion that the removal of the Hyde Amendment would enact.

As Pope Francis has said, “It is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child” (Message to the United Nations, September 25, 2020).

What has changed in recent years is an increasing advocacy for abortion to be considered broadly as ‘medical care.’ In addition, many politicians have been become more radicalized than their constituents in placing emphasis either only on the rights of the child or only on the rights of the mother. Studies show that most Americans favor policies that respect the lives of both women and children as much as possible. Specifically, an overwhelming majority of Americans, including low-income women and women of color who are most impacted by it, support the Hyde Amendment and laws that prevent government-funded abortion.

Why would this be the case? Why such support for Hyde? I suggest that it is because at the end of the day, with some exceptions (and there are certainly many exceptions in and around the laws), what most people want to see is robust support for women and for their unborn children. As a diocese and parishes “Walking with Moms in Need,” we seek to accompany and support women, children, men, and families across the spectrum of needs and with focus on their fundamental human dignity and the common good.

Please join me in acting before July 16 to send a strong message to Members of Congress to protect the Hyde Amendment and instead focus tax dollars on support for women and prenatal children in ways that honor their fundamental dignity and promote the common good. Sign the petition at the No Taxpayer Abortion website.

Let us pray together for justice to prevail.

Sincerely, Yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, JCD, DD
Bishop of Orange