Joe Biden, after one day of taking heavy criticism from pro-abortion advocates, has abandoned his opposition to federal funding for abortion, according to NBC News.
Just yesterday, Biden’s campaign told NBC News that while he supported Roe v. Wade, he also supported a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion referred to as the Hyde Amendment.
The former vice president was immediately hit with severe backlash from Democrats and pro-abortion organizations, including Planned Parenthood.
So harsh was the backlash that the Democratic primary frontrunner did a complete 180 degree turn on the issue Thursday.
Biden revealed his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment in a rather drawn out introduction to attendees at a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta, where he appeared to read a mostly prepared statement detailing his stance in support of abortion rights, before finally getting to the issue at hand:
I’ve also for many years, and let me say this before you start to clap or boo, is that for many years as U.S. Senator I’ve supported the Hyde Amendment like many others have. Because there was sufficient monies where women were able to exercise that right—women of color, poor women, women who are not able to have access. It was not under attack as it is now.
But circumstances have changed. I’ve been working through the details of my healthcare plan, like others in this race, and I’ve struggled with the problems that Hyde now presents. It’s become clear to me that to get universal coverage, and to provide for the full range of health services women need, which I plan to do with the continued expansion of Medicaid and the public option of a Medicare plan; in that environment, where providers like Planned Parenthood are under unrelenting attack, where we have a circumstance —and I want to be clear why I’m taking the position I have, so I make no apologies for my last position, and I make no apologies for what I’m about to say—the fact of the matter is that when in fact there is this enormous pressure and even threat to close down clinics that are available in the past, for women who do not have the funds but are able to have them paid for privately, as we’ve been able to do, that was one thing.
But, we now see so many Republican governors, denying health care to millions of the most poor and most vulnerable Americans by refusing even Medicaid expansion, I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need, and their ability to exercise their constitutionally-protected right. 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.”
Despite Biden’s rhetoric about times changing and new attacks on abortion rights leading him to switch his position, the fact is that nothing changed from yesterday, when he supported the Hyde Amendment, until today, when he decided he no longer could support it—except that many, many Democrats were angry at him, and his primary campaign stood to be weakened by his stance.