May 28, 2021

Action needed to stop tax-funded abortions, USCCB creates tool to help

By Natalie Hoefer

Despite 45 years of strong bipartisan support, the Hyde Amendment—which protects tax dollars from being used to fund abortions—has been excluded from the Biden administration’s proposed legislation to fund the federal government.

“The Hyde amendment has been renewed annually by Congress since 1976,” explained Brie Anne Varick, archdiocesan coordinator for the Office of Human Life and Dignity. “It is critical for Catholics to send a strong message to Congress before they move forward to impose tax-payer funded abortions.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has created a tool to help Catholics tell their elected officials to keep the Hyde Amendment.

(Related: How to contact elected officials regarding the Hyde Amendment)

Members of the secretariat recently hosted a webinar to share the news about the tool. Among the speakers was Anne McGuire, assistant director of education and outreach for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

“A lot of people don’t realize the threat,” she said. “Congress really needs to hear from a massive amount of people for action to be taken during the summer” to re-insert the Hyde Amendment into the proposed legislation, she said.

‘Send a strong message en masse’

The tool allows concerned citizens to take several actions.

First, they can sign a USCCB-sponsored petition at www.notaxpayerabortion.com that will be delivered to all members of Congress telling them that taxpayer dollars should not pay for abortion.

“We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to ensure that the Hyde Amendment and all similar life-saving appropriations riders remain in place during the 117th Congress and beyond,” the petition instructs.

Second, by signing the petition, users will be registered to receive action alerts from the USCCB notifying them of new actions to take as proposed federal legislation moves through various committees.

Finally, those who sign the petition will receive an e-mail with a link to a site allowing users to enter a ZIP code to identify their House and Senate officials, along with a pre-drafted, editable note regarding the Hyde Amendment.

“The idea is to have as many folks as possible sign the petition before and during the first week of June in order to send a strong message en masse,” said Varick. “But folks can continue signing the petition through the summer.”

‘They do care what you have to say’

In a question-and-answer segment during the USCCB webinar, a question was asked regarding what to do if one’s elected officials are pro-choice.

“I used to be a legislator’s assistant,” Kat Talalas responded. She works in communications for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “I can tell you with confidence that every single communication from constituents is reported, every e-mail, every phone call.

“If lots of people contact their legislators about the same topic, the congressman will respond, regardless of their stance—they want to be re-elected.”

Talalas offered some helpful tips in communicating with legislators.

“Be respectful,” she said. “We’re representing the right-to-life cause, so if we’re rude it could reflect poorly on our cause and our members.

“And be sure to tell them you are a constituent—they do care what you have to say because, again, they want to be re-elected.”

She also encouraged communicating via the online tool, e-mail or phone as opposed to social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

But social media can still be useful in raising awareness about the urgent need to take action regarding the Hyde Amendment, said McGuire. She directed www.respectlife.org/no-taxpayer-abortion, which has pre-designed announcements, graphics and a flyer—available in English and Spanish—for printing out or posting on social media.

“We are in danger of having billions of tax dollars funding abortions in the U.S. and overseas, which would likely lead to more lives lost through abortion,” said Varick. “States would likely be forced to include elective abortion in their Medicaid programs or risk being excluded from the Medicaid program.

“Congress needs to hear a massive outcry from Americans whose right to not support and promote abortion would be violated.” †

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