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Catholics for Choice Applauds President Biden for Omitting Hyde Amendment from Budget Proposal 

May 28, 2021

WASHINGTON – Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, applauded President Joseph R. Biden for omitting the draconian and discriminatory Hyde Amendment from his fiscal year 2022 budget, which he sent to Congress and released to the public today.

Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson said:

“We are deeply grateful to President Biden, our nation’s first pro-choice Catholic president, for the strong commitment to abortion rights and accessibility that he demonstrates in his budget today. Eliminating Hyde is a critical step in ensuring that all people who obtain health care and/or insurance coverage through the federal government will be able to access abortion care, free from political or religious interference in private health decisions. In taking this bold and important step, President Biden is putting into practice the values of Catholic social justice, which compel us to work for equal care and equal justice for all, especially the most vulnerable.”

The Hyde Amendment, first passed by Congress in 1976, prohibits the use of federal Medicaid and Medicare funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the patient’s life is in danger. Because Medicaid is the primary public health insurance program for economically disadvantaged people in the United States, the Hyde Amendment’s ban on abortion coverage is especially harmful to Black, Brown, and Indigenous people of color; young people; LGBTQ people; and immigrants – all of whom are disproportionately in need of coverage through Medicaid due to systemic racism and institutionalized bigotry. This creates a system that preserves abortion access for the wealthy but blocks it for those who are victimized by various forms of injustice. The removal of the Hyde Amendment faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where anti-choice Republicans and centrist Democrats could restore it to the final federal budget.

Said Manson: 

“Even if it doesn’t pass the Senate, the symbolic power of President Biden’s rejection of the Hyde Amendment shows that he, as a deeply devout Catholic, understands that protecting reproductive rights is fundamental to upholding human dignity. Giving pregnant people the legal right to have control and agency over their bodies translates to other aspects of their lives, namely the capacity to claim political, economic and social autonomy.

Every person in the United States – regardless of what they earn, how they are insured, how they identify, how they access healthcare – deserves access to a full range of pregnancy-related coverage, including abortion services. Congress should pass President Biden’s budget with the Hyde removal intact, because no one in America should have to choose between forcibly carrying a pregnancy to term against their will and paying out of their own pocket for basic medical care.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.