A law restricting the federal funding of abortion that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports repealing is credited by a recent study with saving more than 2 million lives.
The Hyde Amendment, a federal law passed almost exactly 40 years ago in September 1976, prohibits the federal coverage of most abortion procedures.
Hyde is credited with preventing the abortion of approximately 2 million people over the past four decades, according to a report published by the pro-life research group the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Michael J. New, Ph.D., associate scholar at the Lozier Institute and associate professor at Ave Maria University, was the author of the study.
"Over 20 studies in a variety of peer-reviewed academic journals demonstrate the Hyde Amendment and other laws to limit public funding of abortion reduce abortion rates and protect unborn children," noted New.
"Multiple studies show that when the Hyde Amendment took effect, the birthrate among women on Medicaid increased by an average of about 13 percent. That means in U.S. states that do not fund abortion through Medicaid, one in every nine people born to a mother on Medicaid owes his or her life to the Hyde Amendment."
In compiling evidence for their report's conclusions, New cited studies it located courtesy of a literature review by the Guttmacher Institute, which has historic ties to Planned Parenthood.
"There has been a considerable amount of research on the impact of Medicaid funding restrictions on the incidence of abortion. A 2009 Guttmacher Institute literature review identified 22 studies on this topic," continued New.
"These methodologically diverse studies used abortion data from a variety of sources. Overall, of the 22 studies they considered, 19 found statistically significant evidence that abortion rates fell after Medicaid funding was reduced."
First enacted in 1976, the Hyde Amendment was named after Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois. It prohibits Medicaid funding for abortion save in instances of rape, incest, or health of the mother.
In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment in a 5 to 4 decision in which Justice Potter Stewart delivered the opinion of the court.
In his decision, Justice Stewart argued that the then seven-year-old landmark decision of Roe v. Wade did not justify striking down the Hyde Amendment.
"But, regardless of whether the freedom of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy for health reasons lies at the core or the periphery of the due process liberty recognized in Wade, it simply does not follow that a woman's freedom of choice carries with it a constitutional entitlement to the financial resources to avail herself of the full range of protected choices," wrote Stewart.
"We are thus not persuaded that the Hyde Amendment impinges on the constitutionally protected freedom of choice recognized in Wade."
The Lozier Institute's report on the Hyde Amendment comes as Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton runs on a platform supporting the amendment's repeal.
"She will repeal the Hyde amendment to ensure low-income women have access to safe reproductive health care," stated Clinton's campaign site.
"And she will fight to protect and build on President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which bans insurance companies from discriminating against women and guarantees more than 55 million women access to preventive care."
Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment.