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Pro-life Democrats appeal to Jimmy Carter to save the Hyde Amendment

The Hyde Amendment, first enacted in 1976, bars federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. It is enacted in law each year as a rider to appropriations bills, and is named after its sponsor Rep. Harry Hyde (R-Ill.).

While Carter was not yet president at the time of the initial passage of the Hyde Amendment, he supported the policy and signed subsequent funding bills into law that included the amendment. In 1977, the federal government shut down three times over abortion funding debates, but the Hyde Amendment survived.

“We are asking President Jimmy Carter (who signed Hyde into law) to please help us in saving it. We are so grateful for your humanitarian work and for everything you did for women and families in office,” said a tweet posted Monday, March 22, by Democrats for Life of America (DFLA). 

“America needs you again, Mr. President. Help us save Hyde,” the group added.

Hyde Amendment language was absent from a recent $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, a departure from last year’s CARES Act. The CARES Act, which included the abortion funding restrictions, received bipartisan support. Congressional Democratic leaders have also called on President Joe Biden to not include the Hyde Amendment in his budget request for the 2022 fiscal year.

Accompanying the DFLA tweet was a video of various group members pleading with Carter, “as a fellow Democrat, and a fellow American, to please help us save the Hyde Amendment.”

“The Hyde Amendment is vitally important. It protects the millions of Americans who do not want our federal tax dollars funding the violence of abortion, and it has saved millions of lives,” said an unidentified participant in the DFLA video. 

The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute has estimated that the policy has resulted in fewer abortions each year, with a cumulative total of more than 2.4 million lives saved since it was enacted in 1976.

The DFLA video thanked Carter for his past leadership on the issue.

“I know that this is in your heart, I know that it’s the right thing to do, I know you know it’s the right thing to do,” said DFLA member David Donofrio to Carter. “So please join us, and let’s stand up for our children.” 

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