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Joe Biden opposes federal funding for abortion services, provoking outrage from activist organizations


Will he be able to have it both ways on abortion?

Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Joe Biden separated notably from the Democratic Party on the issue of abortion Tuesday when his campaign told NBC News that Biden opposed the use of federal funds for abortion services in most cases, according to the Daily Beast.

What's this about? At issue here is the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law that bars the use of federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Several notable 2020 Democrats, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have opposed the law and said they would repeal it, and thanks to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party platform calls for the Hyde Amendment to be repealed.

Is this a surprise? Biden is a professing Roman Catholic who says he is personally opposed to abortion but has been more lenient about the issue as a matter of public policy. He now supports Roe v. Wade, and has criticized recent pro-life state laws passed in the south.

Biden's Senate voting record reflects his support for the Hyde Amendment, but an ACLU video seemed to show Biden saying he would repeal the law. Biden's team says he misheard the volunteer who asked him the question.

How have pro-abortion advocates reacted?

  • Emily's List President Stephanie Shamrock: "At a time when reproductive rights are under consistent attack, it's unacceptable that a major Democratic nominee supports the Hyde Amendment. We hope that Vice President Joe Biden will reconsider this position and what it means to millions of women."
  • NARAL President Ilyse Hogue: "There's no political or ideological excuse for Joe Biden's support for the Hyde Amendment, which translates into discrimination against poor women and women of color plain and simple."
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund executive director Kelly Robinson. "The unfair Hyde Amendment makes it so that those who have the least end up having to pay the most to access abortion, and those who are service members or live on reservations are often left with no coverage for abortion care."
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