Obama and the Hyde Amendment

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


During the White House press briefing on Wednesday, many questions were hurled at press secretary Robert Gibbs about the abortion executive order that President Barack Obama would be signing that afternoon. Most of these queries concerned the politics surrounding the order, which Obama had offered Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), an anti-abortion advocate, as an incentive to support the health care reform legislation. The order doesn’t change existing law, as Gibbs and other White House aides have repeatedly noted. But it did mark an instance when Obama would have to put his signature on an order restating the Hyde Amendment restrictions on the federal funding of abortion that he had previously opposed. With that in mind, I posed a question. Here’s the exchange:

CORN: Thanks.  In 2007, during the campaign, the President said that he does not support the Hyde Amendment and the federal government should not intrude onto a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or terminate her pregnancy. So my question today is, as he signs this executive order, which will further enshrine the Hyde Amendment, how does he feel about that?

GIBBS: David, I would have to see what — I don’t know the comment that you’re referring to.

CORN: He was opposed to the Hyde Amendment.

MR. GIBBS:  Yes, I’d have to —

ANOTHER REPORTER: It was in a questionnaire, a pro-choice questionnaire.

CORN: It was in a questionnaire —

GIBBS:  And I’ll have somebody — I haven’t — you can just assume I haven’t looked at a questionnaire in quite some time.

CORN: But you stipulate that he opposed the Hyde Amendment, correct?

GIBBS:  I would stipulate that the President believes in a woman’s right to choose.

That was it. Gibbs wouldn’t even acknowledge that Obama had once opposed the Hyde Amendment. It seemed a sensitive issue.

 

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate