Reuters: Anti-abortion efforts in states hit obstacle of own making

By Kathy Finn

"Henry Hyde, a champion of the anti-abortion movement, might turn over in his grave if he knew that a provision of law he authored was an obstacle to individual states banning abortion.

The Hyde Amendment, named for the Illinois Republican who served in Congress for 32 years and died in 2007, initially barred the use of certain federal funds, namely Medicaid health insurance for the poor, to pay for abortion.

But the provision, which has been attached to U.S. spending bills since 1976, was changed in 1977 to allow exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

This week lawmakers in Louisiana's state House effectively killed a bill that would have banned abortion outright. The author of that failed bill said lawmakers were put off by a state fiscal analysis that showed that $4.5 billion in federal funds could be at risk if the state criminalizes rape- and incest-related abortion, putting state law out of compliance with Hyde.

The Louisiana law derailed by the Hyde provision, would have been a direct attack on Roe v. Wade.

Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, called the 'personhood' efforts 'really extreme measures.'

'The reason these legislative efforts are not being successful is because banning abortion is a bad idea - it's bad for women, it's bad public policy and it's unconstitutional,' she said."

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