The Hyde Amendment’s life-saving impact is hard to overstate. Both supporters and opponents agree that the Hyde Amendment has prevented over a million abortions. The disagreement, sad to say, is over whether that’s a good thing.
#HelloHyde estimates that of the people born through the Medicaid program since the Hyde Amendment was enacted (“Medicaid kids”), 1 in 9 would have died in the absence of Hyde Amendment protection. That estimate comes from a recently released report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which found that the Hyde Amendment has saved 2.13 million lives. The report goes into considerable detail, but for our purposes, let’s explore how the 1 in 9 figure is consistent with two lines of research.
First, researchers observed the Medicaid birth rate before and after the Hyde Amendment was implemented and reported their findings. The Medicaid birth rate increased 11.4% in Texas, 12% in Illinois, and 15% in Ohio, for an average of 12.8%. Suppose that in Year 1, when abortion was subsidized through Medicaid, there were 100 births. In Year 2, after the Hyde Amendment was implemented, there were 113 births. Those “extra” 13 Medicaid kids are 11.5% of the Year 2 newborns, or slightly more than 1 in 9.
Second, researchers have studied women on Medicaid who sought abortions. Various studies have found that the Hyde Amendment caused between 18% (1 in 5.5) and 37% (1 in 2.7) of such women to give birth instead. But these high figures come from women who are already considering abortions. A little more than half of pregnancies in the U.S. are planned, and many Medicaid recipients are pro-life. With abortion off the table in those circumstances, the lower figure of 1 in 9 is reasonable.