The lives of 60,000 children a year depend upon one person: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
As many of our readers know, the Hyde Amendment is a rider to the annual federal budget which limits taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly via the Medicaid program. Since 1976, it has been enacted every year with bipartisan support. The Charlotte Lozier Institute calculates that the Hyde Amendment prevents approximately 60,000 abortions every year, sparing the lives of 2.4 million low-income babies over the past 45 years.
But where we see neighbors, classmates, and friends, the abortion industry sees lost revenue. The “pro-choice” lobby has been gunning for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and it obtained a significant victory when Hyde was conspicuously omitted from President Biden’s budget proposal this year.
Thankfully, a budget proposal is merely that: a proposal. It will evolve considerably as it makes its journey through Congress. The House of Representatives has a pro-abortion majority and will doubtless send a budget without Hyde to the Senate. There are 50 Democratic Senators and 50 Republican Senators. The filibuster is not a factor, so if it came down to a party-line vote, Vice President Harris — a vicious opponent of the right to life — would break the tie.
Enter Senator Manchin. He has bravely defied the Democratic Party’s extreme abortion orthodoxy, vowing instead to support the Hyde Amendment “in any way possible.” His compassion extends to the constituents who are much too young to vote for him: helpless children in the womb. Thanks to him, it won’t be a party-line vote. The Hyde Amendment has a fighting chance.
This is not the time to declare victory, by any means. Senator Manchin will come under enormous pressure from pro-abortion forces in Congress and in the media. There will be primary threats. There will be false accusations of racism. And if Senator Manchin stands tall, abortion lobbyists could try to get the support of a GOP Senator or two (although pro-abortion Republicans are likely to vote against the budget for unrelated reasons). I won’t even rule out the possibility of a government shutdown over this issue, in which case the pro-life movement must forcefully and repeatedly point out that pro-abortion politicians are responsible for throwing out decades of consensus. And then, of course, we have the 2022 midterms to worry about.
For now, though, let’s just take a moment — whatever your political persuasion — to tip our hats to Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Thank you, Senator, for your courage. We stand with you.