HENRY HYDE, R.I.P.

Catalyst January/February Issue 2008, Front Page

Congressman Henry Hyde died on November 29 at the age of 83. Asked to comment on his death, Bill Donohue said, “The pro-life community has lost a giant of a man with a giant of a heart—Rep. Henry Hyde. His courageous defense of the least among us inspired millions of Americans to stand up for the rights of the unborn. We have lost a national treasure.”

Hyde served in the House from 1975 to 2006 and served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001. In 1976, just three years after the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the Illinois congressman attached an amendment to a spending bill that banned federal funding for abortions. It soon became known as the “Hyde Amendment,” and to this day it has bound every Republican presidential candidate to honor it.

According to former Vatican diplomat John Klink, the Hyde Amendment is thus far responsible for saving the lives of over 1,000,000 babies. While there are other legislators who have done yeoman work protecting the lives of the least among us, no one did more to save the lives of the unborn than Hyde.

Hyde was also well liked, even by his ideological adversaries. Always the gentleman, he will be affectionately remembered by all who knew him.

We expect that his death will lead to the institution of many “Hyde Awards” for those who follow in his footsteps.


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Written by Bill