Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Cindy Hyde-Smith: Appropriations process should protect pro-life policies

By Cindy Hyde-Smith, Guest Columnist

Protecting the unborn is a cause that is near and dear to millions of Americans.  I believe all children, including the unborn, have a God-given right to life.  While states and the courts continue to fight over Roe v. Wade and its ramifications, there are actions Congress must take to preserve policies that protect the unborn and reject attempts to undermine them.

The majority of pro-life protections we have at the federal level are a part of the annual appropriations process.  In fact, last year’s funding bills contained dozens of pro-life provisions, including the Hyde Amendment, which bars hard-earned taxpayer dollars from paying for abortion or abortion services.

President Trump has committed to veto any legislation that weakens current federal pro-life protections; but with a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, vigilance and hard work will be required to ensure no such legislation ever reaches his desk.

There is a strong likelihood that the final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills written by House and Senate appropriators will maintain long-standing provisions to prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion services and to prohibit the use of funds for certain research involving human embryos.  However, there is already evidence that the Democratic-controlled House will try to promote radical pro-abortion provisions through policy riders regarding family planning and teen pregnancy programs.

This brings us to the issue of Planned Parenthood.  No matter how loud it denies it. Planned Parenthood is truly the largest abortion services company in the country.  It is a disgrace for it to receive any funding from the government whatsoever.  Planned Parenthood should be defunded and those resources directed toward clinics and community health centers that can better use taxpayer resources to help women and children.  This is an uphill fight against those who favor aborting a child, even late into a pregnancy.

We also have to make sure that our federal taxpayer dollars do not fund unethical research using fetal tissue from unborn children who have been aborted. The Trump administration has investigated federally-funded fetal tissue research and is working to ensure taxpayer dollars do not go to purchase fetal tissue from abortions.  Additionally, the National Institutes of Health is investing up to $20 million over the next two years to develop better alternatives to research using fetal tissue from abortions. 

While these efforts are vital, and I fully support them, there is more work to be done to raise awareness of and increase support for alternative research methods that help advance biomedical research while also being consistent with pro-life values. Ethical science that respects the dignity of life is always the best science. 

The best way to make sure that funding does not support abortion and that research does not use tissue from abortions is for there to be fewer abortions. President Trump has remained faithful in nominating conservative judges to the federal courts, including two Supreme Court justices. I believe the long fight to protect the sanctity of life and expand the pro-life agenda is bolstered by the Senate’s ability to confirm these nominees swiftly.

Like the tens of thousands of pro-life advocates across the nation, many of us in Congress in the coming months will continue to work through the appropriations and legislative process to fight for policies that will protect the innocent lives of the unborn and end abortion.  It is a fight worth fighting.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Serves, Education, and Related Agencies.