Policy / Support Pro-Life Appropriations Riders

Support Pro-Life Appropriations Riders

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Southern Baptists affirm that every life is worthy of protection, beginning with the preborn. We believe life begins at conception and that abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection (Jer. 1:5; Psa. 139:13). 

congressional appropriations

Southern Baptists affirm that every human is created in the image of God. As stated in a 2022 resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Bible clearly and unequivocally affirms “the preborn child is a person, bearing the image of God, from the moment of conception” (Gen. 1:27; 9:6), regardless of age, level of ability, or stage of development. This is a truth to which Christians in every century have testified and are called to bear witness in every age and in every sphere of life. Furthermore, in a 2021 resolution, Southern Baptists called on “Congress and the President to uphold the Hyde Amendment and all pro-life Amendments, to protect life, and to prevent taxpayers from being complicit in the moral evil of abortion.”

In past years, the Hyde Amendment has been excluded from proposed appropriations bills and treated as a negotiation tool. The Hyde Amendment is a budget rider on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill to prevent Medicaid from covering the cost of abortion. In Fiscal Year 2024 negotiations, the ERLC was glad to see that this amendment and other pro-life amendments were included in both the proposed House and Senate appropriations bills. Building upon this, our desire is to see these riders eventually codified into federal statute through legislation like the Conscience Protection Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which ensures these vital pro-life provisions are no longer treated like one piece in the appropriations negotiations process.

abortion pill

Final budget packages have also historically included other important pro-life riders, including Weldon (discrimination protections for healthcare entities with objections to abortion), Dornan (Hyde protections in the District of Columbia), Helms (protection against international aid funds being used for abortion), Siljander (protection against funds being used to lobby for abortion internationally), and Kamp-Kasten (protection against funds to organizations that support coercive abortion or sterilization).

Pro-life riders are essential in protecting life as well as the consciences of millions of American taxpayers. Before the Hyde Amendment was introduced, approximately 300,000 abortions per year were performed using federal Medicaid dollars. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been passed by every Congress, saving over 2 million lives. Other pro-life riders have proved crucial for defending the conscience rights of medical professionals and healthcare providers who seek to value and protect life.

The ERLC rejects any attempts to weaken or remove these amendments and will always advocate against any government funding of abortions. It is vital that Congress maintains the Hyde family of riders that protect life as well as the consciences of millions of Americans.

SBC Actions

Southern Baptists spoke to pro-life appropriations protections at the 2022 annual meeting through the Resolution On Anticipation of a Historic Moment in the Pro-life Movement and in 2021 through the Resolution on Taxpayer Complicity in Abortion and the Hyde Amendment.

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