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Biden reverses long-held position on abortion funding amid criticism

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he now wants to repeal a ban on federal funds being used for abortion, reversing his position on the Hyde Amendment the day after he was attacked by his 2020 Democratic rivals over his position.

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 9:09 AM


Former Vice President Joe Biden says he now wants to throw out the Hyde Amendment, dropping his long-held support for the measure that blocks federal funds from being used for most abortions amid criticism from his 2020 Democratic rivals.

"If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," he said.

The Hyde Amendment is a four-decade-old ban on federal dollars being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.

Biden's campaign on Wednesday said he still supported the Hyde Amendment -- a position that put him to the right of all other leading 2020 Democratic contenders, as well as Hillary Clinton and the party's platform in 2016.

Biden told the crowd Thursday night he had changed his mind because Republican state lawmakers have enacted "extreme laws in clear violation of constitutional rights" protected by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, making access to abortions more difficult for women who cannot afford the procedure or travel to obtain it.

He said he makes "no apologies" for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment.

"But circumstances have changed. I've been working through the final details of my health care plan like others in this race and I've been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents," Biden said.

He said he wants to achieve "universal coverage" and "provide for the full range of health services women need" through the continued expansion of Medicaid and offering a "public option" that would allow people to join Medicare.

"I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to ... exercise their constitutionally protected right," he said.

"Folks, the times have changed. I don't think these guys are going to let up," Biden said, referring to Republicans.

Biden had faced criticism from women's health and pro-abortion rights organizations, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

But groups that had criticized Biden on Wednesday quickly praised him after his reversal on Thursday.

"We're glad that Joe Biden listened to the voices of millions of women and further clarified his position on the Hyde Amendment. Let's be clear, the Hyde Amendment discriminates against all women but particularly poor women and women of color," NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

Dr. Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted: "Happy to see Joe Biden embrace what we have long known to be true: Hyde blocks people—particularly women of color and women with low incomes—from accessing safe, legal abortion care."

His 2020 Democratic foes had also sharply criticized him Wednesday, when NBC News first reported that -- despite video of Biden telling an ACLU volunteer in South Carolina last month that the Hyde Amendment "can't stay" -- his campaign said he actually supported the measure.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said while campaigning in Indiana that the Hyde Amendment denies abortion rights to "people who don't have money" and that's "just not right."

"No woman's access to reproductive health care should be based on how much money she has. We must repeal the Hyde Amendment," California Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted: "Reproductive rights are human rights, period. They should be nonnegotiable for all Democrats."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged on Twitter to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

"The vice president is absolutely wrong on this one. This is going to deny necessary health care to lower-income women and disproportionately to women who live in communities of color," former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke told CNN on Wednesday night.

This story has been updated.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 701971

Reported Deaths: 13187
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion958051716
Lake51105939
Allen38867670
Hamilton34212404
St. Joseph33638539
Elkhart27021431
Vanderburgh22016393
Tippecanoe21602212
Johnson17408373
Porter17157297
Hendricks16711310
Clark12640190
Madison12287337
Vigo12139244
Monroe11336166
LaPorte10760204
Delaware10288184
Howard9606211
Kosciusko9051113
Hancock7922139
Bartholomew7839153
Warrick7671155
Floyd7533176
Wayne6871198
Grant6755168
Boone6517100
Morgan6362138
Dubois6068117
Marshall5743108
Dearborn566975
Cass5668102
Henry5558100
Noble536983
Jackson491869
Shelby476895
Lawrence4324118
Gibson426889
Harrison426070
Montgomery416286
Clinton415053
DeKalb405483
Huntington376480
Whitley374939
Miami371365
Knox364889
Steuben361357
Putnam351760
Wabash345877
Jasper344846
Adams337652
Ripley333268
Jefferson310779
White307154
Daviess288699
Wells284780
Decatur278592
Fayette276962
Greene269985
Posey268133
Scott259853
Clay252044
LaGrange250970
Randolph234380
Washington230329
Spencer227431
Jennings224447
Fountain207445
Sullivan207342
Starke201152
Owen191456
Fulton190439
Jay185529
Carroll185220
Perry179136
Orange176253
Rush170224
Vermillion165643
Franklin165135
Tipton160843
Parke143716
Blackford132631
Pike130034
Pulaski112945
Newton102834
Brown99340
Crawford96914
Benton95613
Martin82215
Warren78715
Switzerland7698
Union69510
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1045945

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1214131352
Cuyahoga1060882061
Hamilton778281165
Montgomery49815988
Summit45000907
Lucas39675760
Butler37582568
Stark31296894
Lorain24038472
Warren23805291
Mahoning20777583
Lake19885362
Clermont19387228
Delaware17933130
Licking16066206
Fairfield15618196
Trumbull15500459
Medina14787259
Greene14593236
Clark13542288
Wood12664184
Portage12277194
Allen11281229
Richland11001198
Miami10500212
Muskingum8676127
Wayne8523209
Columbiana8515226
Pickaway8414120
Tuscarawas8347239
Marion8342135
Erie7509153
Ross6687145
Hancock6666123
Geauga6520146
Ashtabula6436164
Scioto6271100
Belmont5578158
Union555147
Lawrence5454102
Jefferson5271147
Huron5265113
Darke5256121
Sandusky5158119
Seneca5084118
Washington5056107
Athens497454
Auglaize473984
Mercer470084
Shelby454689
Knox4363108
Madison420458
Putnam419398
Ashland411586
Fulton406266
Defiance399496
Brown384855
Crawford3848100
Logan371976
Preble369298
Clinton359359
Ottawa354278
Highland345759
Williams321674
Champaign317856
Jackson306151
Guernsey305348
Perry289249
Fayette276748
Morrow274139
Henry262866
Hardin262663
Coshocton257857
Holmes252399
Van Wert238562
Gallia232946
Pike232331
Adams227152
Wyandot225553
Hocking208458
Carroll188547
Paulding168238
Meigs141138
Noble132537
Monroe128741
Morgan106423
Harrison104936
Vinton81314
Unassigned02
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