Philadephia Violates Hyde Amendment by Using Tax Dollars to Fund Abortions: Attorney
PHILADELPHIA—Thomas W. King III, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm, states that the allocation of public funds for abortion violates both the federal Hyde Amendment and Pennsylvania’s state version of the legislative provision.
On Aug. 16, King and three other attorneys representing Philadelphia residents filed a lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia for its allocation of $500,000 in public funds to the Abortion Liberation Fund of Pennsylvania. The organization provides “emergency financial assistance” for women seeking abortions, according to its website. Pennsylvania Mayor James Kenney announced the funding on Aug. 4.
“It is against the law to expend public tax dollars for abortions, except in very limited circumstances, under the Hyde Amendment,” King told The Epoch Times, “Both the Federal Hyde Amendment and the Pennsylvania Hyde Amendment restrict the expenditure of public funds for abortion, except in limited circumstances. It’s very important that people understand that.”
The Hyde Amendment bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion in the United States, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. The original Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 and was named for its chief sponsor, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois.
“There have been attempts by the Democrats to undo the Hyde Amendment, which have been unsuccessful so far. It certainly has been a subject of lots of discussion across the United States,” King continued.
“The Thomas More Society, which I’m representing in this matter, with the consent of our clients, is greatly interested in preserving the Hyde Amendment, preserving the Pennsylvania Hyde amendment, and protecting the tax dollars of the citizens of Philadelphia from being expended in this way.”
Pennsylvania Version of Hyde Amendment Also Bars Public Funding
King explained, “In Pennsylvania, we have a similar law, typically called the Pennsylvania Hyde Amendment, [which states that] abortions cannot be funded by public tax dollars. The only exceptions are to save the life of the mother or for rape or incest. Other than that, public tax dollars cannot be expended in this way to pay for people’s abortions.”
The Pennsylvania version of the Hyde Amendment, to which King refers, is the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which states the following regarding public funds: “No Commonwealth funds and no Federal funds which are appropriated by the Commonwealth shall be expended by any State or local government agency for the performance of an abortion,” with exceptions being pregnancies arising from incest or rape, or to save the mother’s life.
Another law mentioned in the lawsuit as being violated is the Pennsylvania Human Services Code, which states similarly: “Since it is the public policy of the Commonwealth to favor childbirth over abortion, no Commonwealth funds and no Federal funds which are appropriated by the Commonwealth shall be expended by any State or local government agency for the performance of an abortion”—with similar exceptions to those stipulated in the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. (pdf)
King said he believes a lawyer’s responsibility is to uphold the law: “I try to go by my life, following the law, representing people who want to uphold the law, and challenging those things that I don’t think are legally accurate or correct.”
The plaintiffs in this case, Charles P. Kuhar, Sr., and Theresa M. Kuhar, are active in the pro-life movement in Philadelphia.
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
The Epoch Times reached out to Philadelphia Mayor Kenney for comment. The Mayor’s Office of Communications replied, “Since this is pending litigation, we are unable to comment.”