In a statement praising the Supreme Court for striking down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced his support for abortion “under any circumstance,” staking out an extreme position on the issue.
Biden, once a self-proclaimed “pro-life Democrat” stood by his personal opposition to abortion as recently as the 2012 presidential election, when he explained, in a debate against then-Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, that he was “personally opposed” to the procedure but felt he had no reason to prevent women from exercising “choice.”
Now, it seems, Biden has undergone a dramatic transformation on the issue, lauding the Supreme Court for its decision in June Medical Services v. Russo.
“Women’s health care rights have been under attack as states across the country have passed extreme laws restricting women’s constitutional right to choice under any circumstance,” Biden said in a statement. “Today the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that states cannot put in place laws that unduly burden a women’s right to make her own health care decision with her doctor.”
The statement also suggests that Biden now believes in an unrestricted right to abortion up until the moment of birth — an extreme position slowly becoming the norm among abortion activists.
Biden went on to attack Republican pro-life legislators for limiting abortion without noting that the Louisiana law was written by a pro-life Democrat in Louisiana’s state legislature and signed by its Democrat governor, John Bel Edwards.
Monday’s statement is hardly the first evidence of Biden’s shift on the issue of abortion. In 2019, Biden made a public shift from supporting the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funds from going to directly pay for abortion procedures, to advocating for an end to the policy, claiming that he could “no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the health care they need,” Biden said at a fundraiser in 2019, according to HuffPost.
Repealing the Hyde Amendment is now largely a mainstream Democrat position. During the 2020 Democratic presidential debates, all of the candidates spoke in favor of repealing the restriction on federal funding for abortion services, and both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said that no-cost abortions would be a hallmark of a Medicare-for-All healthcare plan.
Support for abortion at any stage of pregnancy is becoming a mainstream Democrat position, with states like New York, Virginia, and Illinois all pursuing extensions to their existing “reproductive rights” protections to cover abortions through the third trimester.
Support for abortion at any stage of pregnancy is not, however, a mainstream belief among Americans. According to Gallup, which polled the issue last year, less than a quarter of Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance, as Biden apparently believes, and just over 10% believe abortion should be fully legal in the third trimester.
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