The Sad Argument Against the Hyde Amendment

Ellen Shaffer, Co-Director of the Center for Policy Analysis, offers a troubling piece today calling for the end of the Hyde Amendment, which for decades has worked to prevent federal funding of abortion.

The timing of Shaffer’s call for an overturn of the Hyde Amendment is particularly disturbing, as Live Action’s Planned Parenthood sting videos have shocked and outraged millions of Americans over the last couple of weeks.

Shaffer begins her argument with misleading poll numbers, suggesting that at least 60% of Americans are pro-choice. The CNN poll she cites actually shows that 40% of Americans believe abortion should be legal “in a few circumstances,” while 23% believe abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances.” That equals 63% of Americans opposed to most types of abortion. The most recent Gallup poll on abortion found that a plurality of 47% of Americans describe themselves as pro-life. A 2003 Gallup survey found that when “the woman does not want the child for any reason,” 74% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal. That is hardly a pro-choice nation.

Shaffer argues that low-income women have “suffered the consequences” of the Hyde Amendment for decades. If affordable or free abortion services are so important to the pro-abortion movement, then why don’t Planned Parenthood and other abortionists offer their services for free? The answer is that they are driven by profits. They do not seek to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare” as many claim to. One vivid case unfolded just a few weeks ago, when abortionist Kermit Gosnell was arrested and charged with murder. Gosnell was brutal and digusting in his practice, resulting in the death of at least two patients and countless scars and diseases for others. Gosnell was making millions while the pro-abortion industry protected him and bureaucrats refused to monitor him. Planned Parenthood takes in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year. What Shaffer isn’t willing to admit is that profit is king in the abortion industry, not the protection of so-called “reproductive rights.”

Shaffer writes that the pro-abortion movement needs to take inspiration from the early feminist. That is curious, considering that Susan B. Anthony called abortion a “monstrous evil.” She also names Jane, the group that performed illegal abortions until Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, as a source of inspiration? What is she suggesting by naming a law-breaking group? That lawmakers launder money to fund the abortion industry? That is the only parallel to be drawn.

She also states that we have much to learn from Egypt. If she is calling is calling for a peaceful defeat (via ballot) of President Obama, arguably the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, then be my guest. If she is calling for an overthrowing of the U.S. government, I cannot take her seriously.

Shaffer argues essentially that pro-life activists and politicians must “obey the law; and it is on the law that we have lost too much ground.” Does she not realize that she is writing in favor of overturning a federal law which was passed by Congress – the Hyde Amendment?

Shaffer concludes her piece by saying “[i]t is not sufficient that abortion is legal, if the same public funds that pay for parks, roads, cholesterol medicine and Viagra cannot be used to pay for abortions.”

That is the abortion movement in a nutshell: the destruction of unborn life is somehow equivicol to the funding of new roads. That moral and religious stances on abortion are somehow equivicol to public services that citizens expect from their government.. Because something is legal does not make it right, nor does it make it free. We do not demand free handguns or free alcohol from the government. Though it would not surprise my if Shaffer tried, all in the name of ‘reproductive rights.’

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