Two Massachusetts Democratic State Reps Called For Their Party To Not Repeal The Hyde Amendment Last Year

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If President Joe Biden has it his way, Congress will repeal the Hyde Amendment — and at least a couple of Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature won’t be happy about it.

President Biden proposed a $6 trillion federal budget on Friday, May 28 that does not include the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal funding to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother. It prevents an estimated 50,000 abortions per year, according to National Review.

State Representative Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) and state Representative Alan Silvia (D-Fall River) were among the more than 100 past and present Democratic officials who signed onto a letter from Democrats for Life of America last year expressing their discontent with the Democratic Party’s abortion platform. That included their opposition to repealing the Hyde Amendment. 

Here is what the letter said, in part:


We support reintroducing the conscience language from 2000 into the 2020 platform, which acknowledges that Americans have differing and deeply held views on abortion. We call upon the Democratic Party to avoid divisive policies, such as passing a law in Congress defining a right to abortion (“codifying Roe v. Wade”) and introducing taxpayer-funded abortion (“repealing the Hyde Amendment”).

Fundamentally, we believe that every single state and county in this country deserves Democratic governance. We should not cede large swathes of the United States to the Republican Party. In the US, pro-life Democrats have been a critical part of the coalition to expand voting rights, improve health care, and pass criminal justice reform. These accomplishments would not have been possible if the Democratic Party had in place a litmus test on abortion.

We respectfully submit that the Platform Committee considers these suggestions and opens the hearings to hear the voice of innumerable elected pro-life Democrats across the United States of America.


The letter also noted that many of the Democrats who signed onto the letter are from purple districts — meaning they’re toss-ups between Republicans and Democrats — and “respect the pro-life leanings of our constituents.”

Representative Garry reiterated her disappointment that the Biden administration wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment to NewBostonPost on Monday.

“I am disappointed that the Biden budget does not include the Hyde amendment,” Garry said by email. “I have to say I am not surprised with former DNC Chair Tom Perez’s past comment that all Democrats needed to be pro-choice. I am hoping that Democrats for Life will lead a change in and the President and his advisors will recognize that we are supposed to be the ‘big tent’ party and those in leadership need to understand the large number of Americans who are prolife need to be heard which includes not making our tax dollars pay for abortions which we do not morally agree with. The Hyde Amendment allows for the payment for abortions when the life of the mother is at risk, rape and incest … we don’t believe it should be used as a form of contraception.”

And Silvia told NewBostonPost via email on Tuesday, “Protecting life is a low priority for this administration. Education and health care are priorities. Not taxpayer funded premeditated murder.”  

Trying to repeal the Hyde Amendment is a relatively new position for Biden. He backed the Hyde Amendment for more than 40 years, and as recently as June 2019, he supported keeping it in place. However, he changed his position after facing criticism from fellow Democratic presidential candidates.

“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” Biden said in June 2019, according to The Hill. “I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.”

Taxpayer-funded abortion is unpopular with the American public. A Marist and Knights of Columbus poll from January 2021 showed that 58 percent of Americans oppose using taxpayer money to support abortion.

Silvia and Garry were among the 16 Democrats in the Massachusetts House of Representatives who voted to uphold Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of the ROE Act abortion expansion bill on December 28, 2020. Democrats overrode the governor’s veto and enacted the bill.


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