GOP lawmakers upset Biden is doing what he said he'd do on reproductive rights


They say they're shocked that he's not backing an anti-abortion rule he promised not to in 2019.

Republicans in Congress say they're outraged and stunned that President Joe Biden is protecting abortion rights — exactly as he promised to do.

Biden is expected to release his budget outline on Friday and GOP lawmakers do not expect him to include anti-abortion language known as the Hyde Amendment.

The 45-year-old rule — named for then-Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) in 1976 — bars almost all forms of federal funding for abortion care.

Because it prohibits Medicaid funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the pregnant person's life, the law impedes the right to choose for millions of women and gender minorities with lower income — most of them people of color.

"President Biden promised to unify the country, and he had an opportunity to do that by merely staying consistent. Instead, he listened to the far left ... " tweeted Rep. Robert Aderholt on Thursday.

The Alabama Republican noted that Biden previously supported a rule that prohibited almost all public funding for abortion, complaining: "2021 Joe Biden: poised to release budget allowing taxpayer funded abortion."

"The #HydeAmendment stands for the principle that Americans shouldn't be forced to participate in abortion in any form," said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi. "Worried @POTUS FY22 budget will specifically target Hyde-related policies. I'll do whatever I can on Approps Cmte to protect policies that save lives."

"Even Obama included the Hyde amendment in his budget proposals," complained Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana. "Democrats should know that Republicans are UNITED and will do everything in our power to #SaveHyde."

"The Biden Bait and Switch," wrote Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana. "The bait: supporting the bipartisan Hyde Amendment for decades. The switch: green lighting taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion businesses."

"Taxpayers should NEVER be forced to fund abortion. Period," wrote Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina.

But while some Republicans are now feigning shock and pretending Biden lied to voters last year, this is simply not true.

As a presidential candidate, Biden announced back in June 2019 that he would no longer support the Hyde Amendment, months before the first primary or caucus votes were cast.

"I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to ... exercise their constitutionally protected right," he told a Democratic National Committee event. "If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code."

Donald Trump even belittled him for it at the time. In a Fox News phone-in appearance, Trump said:

He's got — whether it's the Hyde Amendment, so many different things, he's flip-flopping. And I'm not sure that that's a good thing for him to be doing. Maybe he knows. Look, the Democrats have become a radical left party and he probably figures he can't win, but I'm not sure he's even thinking about it. I think he has other people doing his thinking — because he's having a hard time thinking lately.

Despite Trump's criticism, Biden won the 2020 elections by more than 7 million votes, and he brought Democratic majorities with him in the House and Senate.

And they too have made clear their support for protecting the right to choose whether to have an abortion. A 2018 survey by ThinkProgress found that at least 183 House members backed repealing the Hyde Amendment.

"The Hyde Amendment disproportionately impacts low-income women, women of color, immigrants, and young people who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare coverage," Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) told the site.

The 2020 Democratic National Committee platform was also unequivocal.

"We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion," it stated. "We will repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify the right to reproductive freedom."

A group of 200 House Republicans and 48 Senate Republicans have recently signed letters vowing to oppose any spending bills that do not include the anti-abortion language.

But not a single one of them backed Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and none has signed on to his American Jobs Plan for infrastructure investment anyway, regardless of the language.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.