UNBORN WORD of the day

Hyde Amendment was “the rockets’ red glare” showing pro-lifers “that our flag was still there”!
November 30, 2007, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders


I’m not sure how many people in my neighborhood know anything about Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, but this morning I looked out my front window after hearing the news of his death yesterday and I wished I could make a dignified statement to my community about the life of this great man – flying the nation’s flag at half-mast.

To millions of us he carried the pro-life ball for decades, looking downfield – and struggling – towards the ever elusive touchdown line. Perhaps those who are new to the pro-life movement don’t realize what he accomplished in those earlier decades but those who were involved in it all back in the seventies and eighties remember it too well. It was bleak. There were almost no victories, the leaders who should have led did not, and many who we expected to care didn’t.

Enter the freshman congressman from Illinois. He introduced an amendment to ban the use of Medicaid funding for abortion – now called the Hyde Amendment – which passed, and still stands today as one of the few great victories of the movement that suffers onward, much maligned as was he, towards a more child-friendly day in the not too distant future.

I was living in Canada from 1973 to 1982. Once the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976, Hyde was a household name in Canada too – that is, in Pro-Life households. After 1976, he championed on – as so many other lesser-knowns – so his struggle on the political stage was embraced by the rest of us on our own mundane – but still important – stages.

I met Henry Hyde in the late eighties when I was the Director of Education for the Right to Life League of Southern California and he was a keynote speaker at our annual conference. Two of us met him at the airport and we quickly realized that he was a dignified down-to-earth guy. Even his political rivals saw this in him.

Today, the online National Review called the Hyde Amendment “the most important piece of pro – life legislation ever to pass congress”. One reason – but not the main reason – is that after the 1973 Roe v. Wade Decision, the national conscience was sort of shell shocked and the national moral will was sapped. Those who cared sensed a long hard bitter battle ahead to restore what had been lost. The passage of the Hyde Amendment was that “rockets’ red glare” showing pro-lifers “that our flag was still there”! And still worth fighting for. At some point, I’m not sure when, the tide began to turn.

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