"Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities," said Winston Churchill, "because it is the quality which guarantees all others." Among those others are wisdom, tenacity, and respect for that one is called to serve. Those qualities are rarely seen in Washington these days as a result of the Left's cancel culture campaign. So, when courage is displayed, stop and take note.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is refusing to back President Biden's massive $3.5 trillion spending bill unless it includes the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion. The Biden reconciliation bill is, said the Senator, "dead on arrival" unless it includes the Hyde language.
A few years ago, Manchin's position would not have even earned a mention in news stories, but now it is in the headlines. Why? First, the Democratic party that was once home to many pro-life Americans has sworn allegiance to abortion, even to the point of driving pro-life Democrats from office. Furthermore, the Left's once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance a socialist state won't happen without Manchin's support. When you understand the stakes for the Democratic party, then you understand why Manchin's stand on the Hyde Amendment is courageous, putting principle and humanity above politics and self.
Introduced by the late U.S. Representative and Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in 1976, the amendment that bears his name prohibits federal funding of abortion through Medicaid, the government health insurance plan for low-income persons. A recent study indicates that the Hyde Amendment has saved the lives of as many as 2.4 million unborn children.
President Biden voted for the Hyde Amendment every single time it came up during his multi-decade tenure in the Senate. As late as June 2019, Biden affirmed his support for Hyde. But then he came under immediate and intense attack from the pro-abortion forces that now hold a tight grip on the Democratic Party. Within a week, he gave in to the demands of the abortion lobby and its unrelenting advocates in Congress and publicly announced he had come full-circle and declared his support for public funding for abortion.
Joe Manchin is not one for shifting with the political winds. This past spring, the West Virginian said, "I'm going to support Hyde in every way possible." And he's keeping his word.
His fellow Democrats, especially self-described, "progressives," are less than pleased. Earlier in the year, hard-left Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called the Hyde Amendment "a racist, discriminatory policy that (has) perpetuated inequity and injustice in our nation." Her friend Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that the Hyde measure is "inhumane."
What's inhumane is the dismemberment of a little person in the womb, inhumanely augmented when it is paid for by you and me. Thankfully, Joe Manchin is having none of it.
In this, he is standing in the tradition of one of the great statesmen of our Republic, the late Henry Hyde himself. "For over two centuries of our national history, we have struggled to create a society of inclusion," said Mr. Hyde years ago. "Slaves were freed, women were enfranchised, civil-rights and voting-rights acts were passed." Yet, he said, "This great trajectory in our national history has been shattered by Roe v. Wade ... By denying an entire class of human beings the welcome and protection of our laws, we have betrayed the best in our tradition."
Joe Manchin is, virtually alone in the national Democratic Party, seeking to sustain that tradition. Winston Churchill would be proud of such courage. All Americans should be.
Originally published at the Family Research Council.
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.