The United States is sharply divided on the abortion issue. Any person that makes any kind of public statement regarding their beliefs or views on the subject are sure to face critics from all sides. Joe Biden, who is a presidential candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, faced such criticism this past week when he pledged his support to ban federal funding for abortions.
This statement brought a lot of criticism from his own party members who have a long-standing belief that the federal government should fund abortions. The Democratic Party has even vowed to overturn the 4o-year-old ban that has been in place since the 1970s.
The ban is officially called the Hyde Amendment. The amendment is viewed and renewed every year when the new spending bills are sent out for a vote. So far, Biden is the only Democratic member to openly support the Hyde Amendment. His opponents have actually provided details on how they are planning on funding abortions and their plans to do away with the Hyde Amendment.
Biden’s campaign told the NBC News that his statement was his position. He also stated that he is open to removing the Hyde Amendment if Roe v. Wade were somehow to be overturned. The ACLU has previously questioned Biden on his stance of the amendment and it appeared that he was actually in favor of it. Biden has since clarified his statement as he misheard the question from the ACLU representative.
His campaign has stated that “The Hyde Amendment does not prevent organizations in the U.S. that provide lifesaving health care services for women from receiving the federal funding they need. But given the current draconian attempts to limit access to abortion, if avenues for women to access their protected rights under Roe V Wade are closed, he would be open to repeal.”
Kelly Robinson, who is the director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, has stated, “We strongly encourage Joe Biden to speak to the people whose lives are impacted by this discriminatory policy and reevaluate his position. To support the Hyde Amendment is to block people — particularly women of color and women with low incomes — from accessing safe, legal abortion.”
The Hyde Amendment was put into effect in 1976. Since then, it has banned federal funding of abortions. Biden has a track record of Pro-Life choices as he has opposed exemptions of the amendment and even voted for an amendment that would have allowed states the power to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
During the early years of the amendment, there were a lot of Democrats that were Pro-Life and would agree with him today. But now he stands alone. Many within the Democratic Convention want to remove all Pro-Life people from their party. Even with such a view, Joe Biden does not believe that the Roe v. Wade should be overturned. On some level, he still supports the right of women to choose.
The House of Representatives has tried at least once to repeal the Hyde Amendment but fell short in getting it accomplished. The citizens of America are equally divided on the issue of funding. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has stated that “Abortion is health care. I can fully understand the difficulty of getting rid of the Hyde Amendment, politically. But I don’t think it should be our stance or belief to maintain it.” Her stance is one of many within the Democratic Party.
The Hyde Amendment is one of many stances that Joe Biden has taken in his campaign to win the Democratic nomination. He has the popularity behind him and it might just be enough to win the nomination that he is seeking. For right now he stands alone on this issue and is surely going to have to defend his position in any upcoming debates.
The issue of abortion continues to divide the nation. More states are beginning to take matters into their own hands and pass laws that are restricting abortion to extreme cases. It is possible that the Supreme Court will soon have to deal with the Roe v. Wade decision before the issue divides a nation.