Biden hailed for 'historic' exclusion of anti-choice Hyde Amendment from proposed budget
Vice President Joe Biden (AFP Photo/Jason Davis)

Reproductive rights advocates on Friday hailed President Joe Biden's omission of funding for the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits most federal abortion spending—in his $6 trillion 2022 budget proposal.

"Budgets are a statement of values. President Biden's budget proposes to end the harmful Hyde Amendment—making clear that federal law should support everyone's ability to access healthcare, including safe, legal abortion, in this country."
—Planned Parenthood Action

While campaigning for president, Biden promised he would try to end the Hyde Amendment, which has been in effect since 1977 and bars Medicare and the Indian Health Service from covering abortions except in cases of incest, rape, or when the life of the pregnant person is endangered.

"If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," candidate Biden said in June 2019 in an about-face following intense criticism from reproductive rights advocates over his erstwhile support for the amendment.

"I can't justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right," he added.

Reproductive rights campaigners cheered the news that, for the first time in decades, a president did not include the Hyde Amendment in a proposed budget.

"Today's presidential budget is the latest example of the Biden-Harris administration fulfilling its commitments and campaign promises to advance reproductive freedom," NARAL Pro-Choice America chief campaigns and advocacy officer Christian LoBue said in a statement.

"Discriminatory abortion coverage bans disproportionately harm people working to make ends meet, especially women of color, young people, and transgender and nonbinary people," LoBue added. "At a time when reproductive freedom is under unprecedented attack, and the legal right to abortion is hanging on by a tenuous thread, this critical step from the Biden administration is more important than ever."

In Congress, progressive lawmakers led praise for the president's move, with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) calling it "great news."

Georgeanne Usova, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU, also hailed Biden's move.

"Today's budget marks a historic step toward finally ending the coverage bans that have pushed abortion care out of reach and perpetuated inequality for decades," Usova said in a statement.

"With abortion access under unprecedented attack around the country, lifting discriminatory barriers to care is a matter of racial and economic justice that cannot wait," she added. "No one should be denied abortion care because of where they live, how much money they have, or how they get insurance."