The Celebrated Hyde Amendment Responsible for Keeping Abortion Legal in Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA – A bill revising the state of Louisiana’s definition of criminal feticide to include abortion was taken up by the State House on Wednesday and essentially defeated by the Hyde Amendment. Louisiana House Bill HB645 would have banned every form of abortion, including those committed against children conceived by rape or incest, and prohibited the prescribing of abortion inducing drugs.

Rep. Jim Fannon made a motion to recommit the bill to the Committee on Appropriations based on the faulty notion that it would not comply with federal abortion law. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion, includes an exception for cases involving rape or incest. Fannon claimed that the sweeping pro-life measure would jeopardize the state’s $4.5 billion in Medicaid funding. The motion was adopted 65-30.

Objecting to the motion to recommit, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John LaBruzzo, reminded his colleagues that many states have had similar issues. He noted, “Not one time has one state lost one penny of Medicaid dollars—not once.”

LaBruzzo concluded by reiterating that the Hyde Amendment does not compel states to fund abortion, “There is nothing in statute of law that says, ‘The penalty is that we’re going to pull all of your money.’ It’s permissive. If the rape and incest exception applies, then you may or may not. My bill says you may not.”

Similarly, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law in May that prohibits tax funding of abortion providers. Indiana is defending the law in court on the basis of their right to determine which facilities are eligible to receive funds.

“Pro-life Americans should not be forced to continue paying the abortionist’s salaries,” said Keith Mason, cofounder of Personhood USA. “States have the right to make murder illegal without interference from the federal government.”

“The Hyde Amendment had a chilling effect on prolife legislators, causing them to shy away from legislation that they would normally support wholeheartedly,” explained Attorney and Pro-life Speaker Rebecca Kiessling. “Tax funding of abortions on children conceived by rape is so much worse than saying, ‘I think your mother should be able to abort you.’ It’s saying, ‘You should have been killed, and our tax dollars should have paid for it.’”

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