Tax Dollars And Abortion

It’s an inconvenient truth for some and an unwelcome reality for others, but federal tax dollars are being used for abortion. In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, named after former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), which prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, with the exception of life of the mother, through Medicaid.

Incensed and outraged that the federal government would not foot the bill for abortions, pro-abortionists went to the courts, arguing there was a Constitutional right for an individual to have the federal government pay for an abortion. Rightly, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government was not under any Constitutional obligation to pay for an abortion.

U.S. Government Is Under No Constitutional Obligation To Pay For Abortions: “The Court explained that the ‘Constitution imposes no obligation’ on the government to pay the pregnancy-related medical expenses of indigent women, and … the laws upheld in Maher and Harris placed no obstacles ‘in the pregnant woman’s to an abortion’ that were not already inherent in her indigent status.” (Geoffrey R. Stone, “The Selective Activism Of The Burger Court,” ABA Journal, 72 A.B.A.J. 10 6/15/86)

  • Maher v. Roe: “There is only one significant break in this otherwise consistent enforcement of Roe. In Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977), the Court upheld a state regulation granting Medicaid benefits for childbirth, but denying such benefits for abortions that are not ‘medically necessary.’” (Geoffrey R. Stone, “The Selective Activism Of The Burger Court,” ABA Journal, 72 A.B.A.J. 10 6/15/86)
  • Harris v. McRae: “[I]n Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), the Court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which permitted Medicaid funds to be used to pay for childbirth, but prohibited their use to pay for abortions ‘except where the life of the mother would be endangered’ or the mother was the victim of ‘rape or incest.’” (Geoffrey R. Stone, “The Selective Activism Of The Burger Court,” ABA Journal, 72 A.B.A.J. 10 6/15/86)

Defeated and frustrated by the Supreme Court, pro-abortion advocates launched a strategy to gain taxpayer support for abortion through state governments by filing numerous lawsuits in state courts.

Pro-Abortion Advocates Filed Lawsuits To Force State Governments To Provide For Abortion. “In 1980, the Supreme Court, in Harris v. McRae, upheld the Constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, prompting abortion rights advocates to file several lawsuits in state courts to compel states to use their own money to pay for abortions for poor women.” (Steven A. Holmes, “Right To Abortion Quietly Advances In State Courts,” The New York Times, 12/6/98)

“Abortion Rights Advocates Have Slowly And Quietly Been Winning Victories In State Courts To Make Abortions More Widely Available. Bypassing what they see as an increasingly conservative Federal judiciary, groups that favor the right to abortion have been focusing on state constitutions that often contain greater privacy rights than the United States Constitution or that have equal rights amendments. They have racked up victories even as Federal courts have limited the right to abortion established by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade in 1973.” (Steven A. Holmes, “Right To Abortion Quietly Advances In State Courts,” The New York Times, 12/6/98)

At the same time, pro-abortionists were working Democrats in Congress to water down the Hyde Amendment in order to provide more direct taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid.

Under The Clinton Administration And A Democrat Congress, The Hyde Amendment Was In Jeopardy Of Being “Tossed Out.” “During the start of the Clinton Administration, Hyde concluded that the language was in danger of being tossed out altogether by the Democratic Congress and so agreed to create exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.” (“Ex-Rep. Hyde, A Conservative Hero, Dead At 83,” CQ Weekly, 12/3/07)

The Hyde Amendment Was Rewritten To Include Rape And Incest In Federal Funding Exceptions. “In September 1993, Congress rewrote the provision to include Medicaid funding for abortions in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.” (National Abortion Federation,, Accessed 4/1/09)

Even though the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of taxpayer money to provide for abortion, the government also indirectly funds abortion organizations and services through Title X funding.

Title X Funding “Dedicated Solely To Providing Individuals With Comprehensive Family Planning And Related Preventive Health Services.” “The Title X Family Planning program [‘Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs’ (Public Law 91-572)], was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them.”  (United States Department Of Health And Human Services Website,, Accessed 4/10/09)

Allegedly, Title X Funds Are Prohibited From Being Used For Abortion. “Since the inception of Title X, a statutory prohibition against the use of Title X funds for abortion has existed in Section 1008 of the law. It states that no Title X funds can be used ‘in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.’” (National Abortion Federation Website,, Accessed 4/10/09)

However, Anti-Abortion Groups Note That Taxpayer Dollars Indirectly Fund Abortion Procedures At Family Planning Clinics. “While Planned Parenthood maintains that federal funds do not pay for abortions, this massive infusion of taxpayer cash has helped build the organization into the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics.  In addition, Planned Parenthood is heavily involved in pro-abortion lobbying. Under the ‘Mexico City Policy,’ taxpayer funds are prohibited from funding private foreign family planning organizations that perform or actively promote abortion.” (National Right To Life Committee, “National Right To Life To Congress: ‘Stop Funding Abortion Providers,’” Press Release, 11/17/07)

As only one example of government funding abortion organizations and services, Planned Parenthood has received over $2 billion in government grants and contracts since 2001. At the same time, Planned Parenthood has provided over 1.8 million abortions.

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