June 7, 2019
Democratic voters who had backed Joe Biden’s presidential run to date—as well as three national groups that advocate for women’s rights—are criticizing the former vice president over his support for the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal Medicaid funding for abortion services.
The fallout has occurred in response to a June 5 NBC News report that Biden continues to support the amendment, which allows for exceptions only after rape or incest—or to save the life of the mother.
Biden started the week on a strong roll—with 33% of national poll respondents saying they would support him; in contast to 16.7% for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), 8.2% for Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), 7.8% for Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), and 6.8% for Mayor Pete Buttigieg of (D-South Bend, Indiana), according to Real Clear Politics.
However, those numbers could change, in light of his less-than-overwhelming support of a woman’s right to choose.
Indeed, Biden only would back repealing the amendment “if abortion avenues currently protected under Roe were threatened,” his campaign told NBC News.
In a statement released on June 5, Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights group NARAL, said there is “no political or ideological excuse” for Biden’s support for the amendment, which she said “translates into discrimination against poor women and women of color plain and simple.”
She added, “His position further endangers women and families already facing enormous hurdles and creates two classes of rights for people in this country, which is inherently undemocratic.”
Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, a political action committee that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, also issued a statement, saying, “At a time when reproductive rights are under consistent attack, it’s unacceptable that a major Democratic nominee supports the Hyde Amendment.”
Schriock further stated, “We hope that Vice President Biden will reconsider this position and what it means to millions of women.”
According to a report by The Washington Post, Biden’s stance on the issue puts him at odds with most of the 2020 Democratic presidential field, as well as with the Democratic Party’s platform. In 2016, the party amended its platform to include a plank calling for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, describing it as among the “federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion.”
“The Democratic Party platform is crystal clear in supporting the right to safe, legal abortion and repealing the Hyde Amendment, a position held by the majority of voters,” said Kelley Robinson, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, on June 5.”
Research contact: @NBCNews
Editor’s note: According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on the night of June 6 that he now opposes a ban on the use of federal funds for most abortions, reversing his longstanding position amid pressure from fellow Democrats and abortion-rights groups.