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September 30, 2016: Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which has saved 2.13 million lives since its enactment in 1976.
The Hyde Amendment restricts federal taxpayer funding of abortion through the Medicaid program. Despite opposition from activist judges and the abortion lobby, the Hyde Amendment remains in effect in most states. In those states, one out of every nine people born through the Medicaid program over the past forty years is alive today because of the Hyde Amendment.
“For forty years, the Hyde Amendment has affirmed that lives like mine are worth living,” said Stargift Thomas, who was born through the Medicaid program in 1991. Ms. Thomas is one of the organizers of the #HelloHyde campaign, a Twitter-based photo series celebrating the lives of Medicaid kids.
“I’m the daughter of poor Cuban immigrants and I received Medicaid care as a baby, so the Hyde Amendment is incredibly important to me,” said fellow #HelloHyde organizer Gina Mallica. “Low-income children deserve a chance at life, not a government-subsidized death.”
Valerie Lopez, who became unexpectedly pregnant while a student at Texas A&M and received maternity care through Medicaid, agreed. “The argument that we should repeal the Hyde Amendment to reduce the low-income birthrate is incredibly offensive,” she said. “The Hyde Amendment sends a message: my son Noah’s life matters.”
The Hyde Amendment is an annual rider to the federal budget. It prohibits federal funding of abortion through the Medicaid program, with exceptions for rape and the life of the mother. It has passed Congress with bipartisan support every year since 1976.
But the longstanding compromise between pro- and anti-abortion groups has been threatened in recent months. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and repeal is also a plank in the proposed Democratic party platform.
“The #HelloHyde campaign puts faces to this life-or-death issue,” Ms. Mallica said.
But despite well-funded opposition, #HelloHyde campaigners are optimistic.
“This is a time to celebrate,” Ms. Thomas said. “The Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives and we are confident that it will save many more in the future.”
The #HelloHyde campaign is organized under the auspices of Secular Pro-Life, which unites people of every faith and no faith in defense of the right to life. For more information, visit HelloHyde.org.
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