Emma Green is back with a piece on Joe Biden’s view on abortion. He supports the Hyde Amendment, a ban on federal funding for abortions through Medicaid. Yet last night one of his campaign directors claimed that he was supportive of Roe v. Wade. As I tweeted:
I’m watching the National Co-Chairman of the Biden Campaign trying to explain Biden’s position on abortion. The campaign is going to have to work harder at clarifying this position because this interview is not going well. @ChrisCuomo #Biden @JoeBiden #HydeAmendment #RoeVWade
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) June 6, 2019
Here is a taste of Green’s piece at The Atlantic:
…he still supports the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old ban on federal funding for most abortions through programs such as Medicaid. As a senator, Biden voted repeatedly to keep this ban in place; in the 1990s, as NBC reported, he wrote a letter to constituents affirming that Americans who oppose abortions should not have to pay for them. The other leading 2020 Democratic candidates have taken the opposite stance, calling for Hyde to be repealed, along with other expansions of abortion rights. Perhaps in response to the Democratic field’s move to the left, Biden has recently indicated that he might be willing to protect abortion rights with federal legislation.
While most voters likely do not recognize the term “Hyde Amendment,” the issue of using tax dollars to pay for abortion is fairly clear-cut. Even people who support legal abortion, including Democrats, may not believe the federal government should be paying for it. Biden’s continued support for a ban on federal funding for abortion sends a different message: This is the moderate Democrat who voters have known for decades. Abortion-rights advocacy groups are already calling out Biden’s position on Hyde, but unlike other 2020 Democrats, he is not prioritizing to those groups’ causes. In part by emphasizing his fight for “the soul of the nation,” as he has put it, over and above divisive social issues, Biden is making a bet that he can appeal to the widest range of voters in a 2020 general election.
Frankly, I would like to see Biden define himself as a pro-life Democrat. As I have argued before, it is the most consistent position for a party that claims to care about the weakest and most vulnerable human beings in society.
And by the way, it is also possible to be pro-life and pro-women’s rights. I am with Jimmy Carter on this.