The Hyde Amendment has been effectively used for the past 40 years to limited federal funding for abortions. The 2016 Democratic Party platform calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the first time the party has called for the removal of the Amendment, which is routinely attached to every funding bill related to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Bans Medicare payment for abortion
Named for long timed Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, who was an outspoken critic of abortion, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives first passed the Hyde Amendment in 1976; three years after abortion became legal in the U.S. The Hyde Amendment banned federal Medicaid coverage of abortion. It has passed the House of Representative every year since 1976. In 1993, President Bill Clinton was able to mo1dify the Hyde Amendment to include allowing federally funded abortions for women who were victims of rape and incest. The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Hyde Amendment in 1981 stating that while the Court had ruled that obtaining an abortion might be a constitutional right, there is no government obligation to pay for an abortion.
Clinton opposes Hyde Amendment while Kaine is for it
Hillary Clinton is opposed to the Hyde Amendment and has stated that she supports changing Medicaid policy to permit abortion funding. Clinton has called the right to an abortion “a fundamental human right.” Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine recently told CNN, “I have been for the Hyde Amendment. And I have not changed my position on that." While not unheard of, it is unusual when the vice presidential candidate publically disagrees with the presidential nominee on a policy issue. When told by The Weekly Standard that the Democrat platform called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, Kaine said, "I haven't been informed of that change, but I'm going to check it out.” The Clinton campaign was quick to note that Kaine has promised to carry out Clinton’s agenda on the issue.
"He [Kaine] shares the concern that low-income women and women of color too often face barriers to health care, and for this reason, he has been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and other programs and services that ensure the full range of reproductive health-care services for all women." — Karen Finney, Communications director for Kaine
Abortion no longer ranks as top concern for voter
Tim Kaine, a Catholic, has made no secret of his personal opposition to abortion. He has referred to his “faith-based opposition to abortion.” At the same time, Kaine has a 100 percent voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America and has stated, “I’ve got a personal feeling about abortion, but the right role for government is to let women make their own decisions.”
Regarding the election, the differing stance between Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton on the Hyde Amendment is unlikely to make a difference at the ballot box. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that voters are nearly twice as concerned about the economy and terrorism as they are about abortion policy.