In an attempt to win over the moderates not-so-enthusiastic about federally funded abortions, former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal tax dollars from paying for the killing of unborn children.
According to NBC News, Biden’s campaign confirmed on Tuesday that he still supports the Hyde Amendment, a complete contrast from Hillary Clinton in 2016. Progressives were deeply confused by this report in light of the fact he seemed to endorse the overturning of Hyde in a recent tweet promoted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Biden’s continued support for Hyde not only sets him apart from the rest of his 2020 Democratic competitors,” NBC News reports, “but it may surprise progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which promoted a recent tweet by one of its activists appearing to get Biden to commit to ending Hyde during a rope-line exchange in South Carolina. Biden’s campaign told NBC he would be open to repealing Hyde if abortion avenues currently protected under Roe were threatened.”
Naturally, this has opened up the former vice president to attack from the likes of progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who said the Hyde Amendment has been “wrong for a long time,” as reported by HuffPost.
“Here’s how I look at this: I’ve lived in an America where abortions were illegal. And understand this: Women still got abortions,” Warren told Chris Hayes of MSNBC. “Now, some got lucky on what happened, and some got really unlucky on what happened. But the bottom line is they were there.”
“Understand this: Women of means will still have access to abortions,” she continued. “Who won’t will be poor women, will be working women, will be women who can’t afford to take off three days from work, will be very young women who have been raped, will be women who have been molested by someone in their own family. We do not pass laws to take away that freedom from the women who are most vulnerable. It’s been the law for a while, and it’s been wrong for a long time.”
Other 2020 contenders have also taken the opportunity to denounce the Hyde Amendment. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter that abortion should be “non-negotiable for all Democrats.”
“Repealing the Hyde Amendment is critical so that low-income women in particular can have access to the reproductive care they need and deserve,” tweeted Gillibrand. “Reproductive rights are human rights, period. They should be nonnegotiable for all Democrats.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared there was “#NoMiddleGround” on abortion and that he would also work to repeal Hyde. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) repeated the same talking point.
Should Joe Biden win the Democratic nomination without shifting his position on the Hyde Amendment, it will undoubtedly signify that the party recognizes that going too far-left on abortion can alienate moderate voters. Hillary Clinton said in 2016 that she would make it her mission to repeal Hyde on her first day in office.
“Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all,” Clinton said. “And not as long as we have laws on the book like the Hyde amendment making it harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.”