White House Won't Give Plans on Hyde Amendment, Mexico City Policy

Although President Biden did not unveil any pro-abortion policies on his first day in office, he is expected to overturn the Mexico City Policy and repeal the Hyde Amendment.

The White House in Washington, D.C. at night.
The White House in Washington, D.C. at night. (photo: Kropic1 / Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s press secretary would not say on Wednesday evening what the administration will do with current safeguards against taxpayer funding of abortions.

When asked by Owen Jensen of EWTN News what President Biden plans to do regarding the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not give any details of plans, in a Wednesday press briefing on the first day of Biden’s presidency.

“Well, I think we’ll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days,” Psaki said, before adding that Biden is a “devout Catholic.”

“But I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he [Biden] is a devout Catholic, and somebody who attends church regularly,” Psaki told reporters. “He started his day with attending his church this morning.”

On Wednesday, Biden attended Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with family and other congressional leaders, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, shortly before he was sworn in to office.

Although Biden did not unveil any pro-abortion policies on his first day in office, he is expected to overturn the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funding of foreign NGOs that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning. Incoming presidents have traditionally rescinded or reinstated the policy as among their first actions in office. 

Biden has also pledged to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which has been enacted into law since 1976 each year as a rider to spending bills. The policy prohibits federal funding of elective abortions in Medicaid.

A repeal of Hyde, however, would require initial action by Congress with both chambers passing spending bills stripped of the policy and sending them to Biden for signature.

Biden took office on Wednesday just days after former President Donald Trump proclaimed Jan. 22 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date marks the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Trump’s proclamation was one of his last actions taken in office.

In the proclamation published on Jan. 17, Trump called on Congress to protect and defend “the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born.” 

He called for the American people “to continue to care for women in unexpected pregnancies and to support adoption and foster care in a more meaningful way, so every child can have a loving home.” 

However, in Trump’s farewell address to the nation on Jan. 19, he did not mention pro-life victories while listing the policy accomplishments of his administration. 

In his farewell address, Trump touted tax cuts, trade policies, falling unemployment rates and the rise of the stock market, border security, and confirmation of judges as among his accomplishments in office, but did not mention life or religious freedom issues. 

Although President Biden announced a series of executive actions on Wednesday morning that did not include abortion, Punchbowl News reported on Wednesday that among his proposed actions for his first month in office, Biden indeed plans to reverse the Mexico City Policy and the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule.

The latter rule requires Title X family planning grant recipients to not refer for abortions, and not be co-located with abortion clinics. As a result of the 2019 rule, Planned Parenthood backed out of the Title X program and forfeited an estimated $60 million per year in Title X grants rather than comply with the new requirements.

In addition, according to Punchbowl News, Biden will reportedly “disavow” the Geneva Declaration, a document signed in October by the U.S. and 31 other countries which rejects abortion as a human right.

The United States Capitol building at sunset in the District of Columbia.

Members of Congress Come Out in Support of Hyde Amendment

In their letter on Tuesday, the Republican members stated that Hyde is estimated to have resulted in more than two million fewer abortions since 1976, “and continues to protect the conscience rights of a vast majority of Americans opposed to publicly funded abortions.”