CV NEWS FEED // The House passed a new COVID relief bill early Saturday morning. The legislation was scrubbed of protections for the unborn found in all previous relief bills.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 promises to fund recovery efforts amid financial and health struggles related to COVID-19 and economic lockdowns. It includes funding for contact-tracing, vaccinations, stimulus checks, and various community health services.
But as currently constituted, the bill passed the House against the interventions and dire warnings of pro-life leaders, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Unfortunately, unlike previous COVID relief bills, this bill appropriates billions of taxpayer dollars that are not subject to longstanding, bi-partisan pro-life protections that are needed to prevent this funding from paying for abortions,” wrote the U.S. Bishops in an online campaign ahead of the House vote.
The Bishops also wrote to Congress to express “strong opposition to any taxpayer funding of abortion as part of this legislation,” the campaign continued. The Bishops emphasized to Congress that “the Hyde Amendment policy must be included before this bill moves forward.”
In a final intervention Thursday, Republican lawmakers introduced an amendment to apply the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funding for abortions, to the relief bill. House Democrats rejected the amendment, which was introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-IN, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, and Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC.
“Unfortunately, House Democrats did not include Hyde Protections in the $1.9 trillion reconciliation bill,” wrote Walorski, Rodgers, and Foxx in a statement. “We are leading to fix this to reflect Congress’s long bipartisan history of supporting Hyde.”
The statement went on to point out that the Democrats’ refusal to include pro-life protections is a new development, and a sharp break from even Democratic Party norms which held until very recently.
“President Joe Biden supported [the Hyde Amendment] for years as a Senator. Democrats also joined us in prohibiting taxpayer funded abortions in all the previous COVID-19 relief packages.”
“The Majority should reconsider their hyper-partisan plan of using reconciliation as a vehicle to fund more abortions,” they concluded:
With so many Americans in despair because of this pandemic, we should be coming together to provide hope, healing, and a better future for every person in this country. To save more lives and recognize the dignity and value of every life, we urge bipartisan support of our Amendment.