What is the Hyde Amendment?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Hyde Amendment is an anti-abortion law.  It is a law that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions in most circumstances.  This has made it so that federal programs like Medicaid do not provide abortions for those who use them.

The Hyde Amendment is named after Henry Hyde, who was a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois.  It was first passed in 1976 and has been attached to funding bills ever since.  It is not a separate law, but a clause that gets attached to bills in Congress.  The current form of the amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.

The Hyde Amendment is a part of the debate over abortion that is so prominent in modern politics.  Conservatives believe that the amendment should be kept and some conservatives believe that it should even be narrowed to remove some or all of the exceptions.  By contrast, liberals (as seen in the link below) feel that the Hyde Amendment harms women and is an infringement on their right to control their own bodies.

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