Biden, the Bishops and Hyde
As expected, President Biden has made good on his promise to ditch the Hyde Amendment, dropping it from the federal budget proposal he released the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend. The amendment, named, of course, for the late great Congressman Henry J. Hyde, was first passed in 1976 to prohibit federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Throughout his Senate career, Biden supported Hyde—citing his Catholic faith—but he reversed his “conviction” in June 2019, when his position drew the ire of the Democratic Party and Big Abortion.
This is adding fire to the Church’s already simmering “communion wars” over whether prominent Catholics ought to be denied the Eucharist if they publicly promote grave sins against the Faith. United States bishops are at odds with each other and with the Vatican.
So what is Joe thinking?
He had to have known how the surrender on Hyde would resonate among his fellow Catholics. Did he just not care? And then he added that he wants to codify Roe v. Wade, which means allowing abortion until birth in the form of a law that can’t be fiddled with by the Supreme Court, Catholic justices or no. That means enshrining this 48-year-old contentious Supreme Court decision into law so that it can never be challenged by the courts again. This is not just forsaking one tenet of the Catholic faith. This is war.
So writes Julia Duin in “Is Joe Biden Only Quasi-Catholic—At Best?,” her article in the Spring issue of the Human Life Review—almost out—which you can read here. Duin does a masterful job of setting the historical stage as well as putting the controversy in context. And she—not a Roman Catholic—doesn’t hold back:
Was Biden’s embrace of the Hyde Amendment until mid-2019 due to his faith, and, if so, what persuaded him to choose his own party over his faith? We may never know, but you can’t blame people like Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann for calling Biden’s stance on abortion “religiously and ethically incoherent.” I believe that the 46th president could care less what his church says about the matter—if winning the presidency required throwing the baby out with the (Catholic) bathwater, he was all in. He never planned to come into office as a great change agent who could craft a great compromise on the matter that both sides could agree to.
Archbishop Naumann, chairman of the US Bishops Conference’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has called on Congress to “reject the administration’s proposal to subsidize the deaths of unborn children” and is encouraging Catholics to sign a petition urging lawmakers to keep the Hyde Amendment (at notaxpayerabortion.com).
There is no federal law the Supreme Court can’t “fiddle with”–except a law removing the Court’s jurisdiction over certain subject matters.
Any time during the past 50 years, a simple majority of Congress, and a President, could have removed state abortion statutes from the jurisdiction of the USSC. Note that no bishop has ever promoted such a law. Instead, the bishops wasted decades and millions of dollars promoting a Human Life Amendment.