In a “vote-a-rama” on Aug. 10, U.S. senators voted on a variety of amendments to the proposed $3.5 trillion federal budget for fiscal year 2022, including an amendment that prohibits federal dollars from being used for abortions. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 50-49, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) casting the deciding vote.
Manchin was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the measure. Despite support from all Republicans that were present, without Manchin’s vote, the amendment would have failed.
“Sen. Manchin has proven himself to be the notable exception by standing up for unborn children, their mothers and pro-life American taxpayers,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. “West Virginia is a deeply pro-life state, and Senator Manchin’s courageous votes have not gone unnoticed. We encourage him to continue standing tall for the unborn and the pro-life Americans of the Mountain State.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), who sponsored the amendment, explained that the language of the legislation was crafted to ensure that the budget will comply with the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal dollars to pay for abortion.
“The Hyde Amendment has enjoyed decades of bipartisan support, including from then-Sen. Joe Biden,” he said. “It has been signed into law by Democrat and Republican presidents alike.
“The Hyde Amendment reflects a decades-long consensus that millions of Americans who profoundly are opposed to abortion should not be forced to pay for the taking of human lives of children, or incentivize it with their taxpayer dollars.
“In a 2020 Marist poll,” Lankford added, “it found that 60% of Americans, including 37% of people who identify as pro-choice, oppose the use of their taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Similarly, the Weldon Amendment has been in law since 2004. It protects individuals from being forced to participate in abortion if it would violate their conscience.
“Millions of Americans of faith, and of no faith, know that the only difference between a child in the womb and outside the womb is time. Just because they are smaller people doesn’t mean they should be any less protected by law,” he concluded.
Chelsea Sobolik, acting public policy director of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, celebrated the Senate’s approval of the pro-life amendment.
“As lawmakers craft legislation, they should start from a foundation that protects life—something that has been a source of bipartisan agreement for decades,” she said. “This amendment restores that policy in this budget process.”
Above: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) leaves the Senate chambers on Aug. 10. Manchin was the only Democrat to vote in favor of an amendment to the federal budget that prohibits taxpayer money from being used for abortions.
Photo: Bonnie Cash/UPI/Alamy Live News