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Weed Control

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August 2021

Need a spiritual discipline? Few can compare to gardening. As winter bores us to tears and burns us with cabin fever, the thought of a flower garden can keep us going. We can’t wait for the mail-order seed catalogue to arrive. The photos alone have a way of rejuvenating us. We begin to plan, and in time we begin to plant. We seed and fertilize our lawns. “Hope springs eternal” is about gardening—if not also a little bit about baseball.

Fast forward a few months, say to August. The garden is growing, but in ways we didn’t plan. We find plants we did not plant, some varieties of which we’ve never seen before. Vines and weeds have filled in every empty space and tangled themselves in every flower. As for our lawns, they’re looking quite brown, though the weeds are doing quite well, thank you. We start looking in our neighbors’ yards for evidence of sabotage. And we shift to a new plan: eradicate the weeds by every means possible. Poet/gardener Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that weeds are plants whose virtues we have not yet discovered. Unconvinced, we ask ourselves: what was he drinking?

President Biden has also made plans, though not about flower gardens. But in a misguided way, his plans have something to do with “weeds,” or more precisely, with weed control. The president’s planned 2022 budget eliminates the Hyde Amendment, something included in federal budgeting since 1976. The amendment is named after the late Congressman Henry Hyde. He authored an amendment to an appropriations bill stating that no federal funds may be used under the Medicaid program for abortion services. Medicaid is a federal/state funded program that provides medical assistance to low-income persons. The amendment provides an exception for cases involving rape or incest. The amendment has been challenged in the courts, but the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality. Over the years the rape-and-incest exception has been removed and reinserted, but the amendment itself has always remained part of the federal budget—perhaps until now.

The Hyde Amendment has enjoyed bi-partisan support in Congress, including support from Biden himself. It’s easy to understand why. Most people oppose abortion and do not want to fund what violates their deeply held views of conscience. A recent Marist polls reveals that up to 58% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion in the U.S., and 77% oppose taxpayer funding of  abortions overseas. Translate those figures into election results and they would be landslides. Supporting the Hyde Amendment seems like a political no-brainer. Yet in 2019, presidential candidate Biden flip-flopped on the amendment and now supports its repeal. Why flip-flop on this issue? For one, candidates like Biden need money, and getting money means buying into others’ agendas.

But on a broader level, there is likely something else at work. A 2016 Harvard/Politico poll showed that people making over $75,000 annually were more in favor of taxpayer-funded abortions (45%) than those making less than $25,000 (only 25%). In short, poor people really don’t want abortions. But the president, Democrat leadership, and abortion providers like giant Planned Parenthood want the poor to have easy and cheap access to them.

The reason may be closely linked not just to Roe v. Wade, but to what was likely behind it. In the decades before Roe, the eugenics movement was building in strength. In theory, eugenics seeks to control human reproduction supposedly to improve the population. But in fact, it seeks to purge society of its weakest and poorest members. Eugenics was not just the stuff of Hitler and his regime. It was supported here by Ivy League professors and even by a U.S. Supreme Court justice. A couple years ago, SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas brilliantly traced the history of eugenics in our country. He recounted a 1927 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the forced sterilization of a supposedly “feeble minded white women;” her mother and child were allegedly mentally weak. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for the Court: “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, agreed. Her views are well documented. To Sanger, immigrants, the poor, weak, and disabled were  “human weeds,” “reckless breeders,” “spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” She once enlisted the support of black minsters for her so-called Negro Project to cover her real aims: “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

Sanger pushed for birth control, not abortion, because she understood abortion’s impact on women. But in 1959 Alan Guttmacher endorsed abortion where “there is a strong probability of an abnormal or malformed infant.” In 1962, he became Planned Parenthood’s president. Today, a steady stream of poor are daily escorted through the doors of abortionists.

An estimated 2.4 million humans beings—God’s creations—have been saved by the Hyde Amendment. The Catholic bishops are asking us to contact our Congressional reps and urge them to retain the Hyde Amendment. Hit Humans beings are not weeds. They are the flowers beautifying our world.

Paul Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics.  He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.
© Paul V. Esposito 2021.  Culture of Life.  Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted.  Visit us at and on Facebook.

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