U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has called out the Biden administration for attempting to run around the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that has banned taxpayer-funded abortions since 1976.
In a letter to the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Florida Republican expressed curiosity about a new government policy that would help bureaucrats travel out of state for “medical care.”
Rubio shared his concern about such an effort with OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. The senator noted that OPM recently released a Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, a document that provided an explanation about federal employees being allowed to use sick leave to travel for medical care.
“Shortly after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,” Rubio wrote, “President [Joe] Biden made it clear that ‘if any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman’s exercising her basic right to travel [for abortion], I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack.’”
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And just after Biden said this, the OPM clarified that federal employees or their families can use sick leave to travel to “receive medical examination or treatment.”
According to the FAQ site, a government worker “may find it necessary to travel longer distances, including out of state, to obtain medical care.” “In such instances,” the document continued, ‘sick leave may be used to cover necessary travel time.”
Rubio noted, “It is obvious given the timing of the announcement that the purpose of the OPM guidance is to facilitate federal employees traveling out-of-state to obtain an abortion.”
The senator added that the policy conspicuously left out the phrase “reproductive services,” “abortion” or any other “abortion-related language.”
“One is left to believe these phrases were intentionally omitted in this guidance by lawyers in the executive branch to circumvent Congressionally-mandated Hyde protections, which bars federal funds from being used to pay for most abortions,” Rubio argued.
“The Biden Administration’s actions and statements over the last several days are focused on undermining pro-life states and now they are even willing to violate longstanding federal law prohibiting the use of taxpayer monies to fund abortions or abortion services.”
“The federal government has no business promoting the killing of unborn children. I demand that the agency clarify that the federal government will not provide sick leave for travel related to abortion services.”
Biden was a longtime supporter of the Hyde Amendment until he became the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2019.
Last year, Biden, who asserts that he is Catholic, offered the first presidential budget that excluded the Hyde Amendment. The Democratic-led House eventually passed a federal budget that did not include the Hyde provision.
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Yet Biden’s position only reflects the radicalism of his party on abortion.
After decades of accepting Hyde to a degree while also supporting abortion “rights,” the Democratic Party in 2016 called for repealing the law.
The party reiterated that position in 2020 in forming the party platform that Biden ran on.
But that is out of step with most Americans. A Marist University poll taken in 2018 found that Americans oppose taxpayer-funded abortions by a 60-36 margin.