Former vice president Joe Biden has reversed decades of his votes and has now said he will allow for the funding of abortions with taxpayer money if elected president.
Biden, the Democratic frontrunner according to most polls, said that he would abolish the 1976 Hyde Amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a leftist nonprofit organization, said that one of its volunteers asked Biden whether he would abolish the amendment and that he said yes.
The union shared video footage of the question and answer.
Our volunteer Nina asked Joe Biden whether, as president, he would lift the Hyde amendment, which bans federal insurance coverage of abortion.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 8, 2019
The amendment blocks federal funding payments for abortions through Medicaid.
Biden’s stance on the amendment shows how he’s veered left in recent years after being portrayed as a centrist.
The 76-year-old long advocated a moderate position on abortion, including being against federal funding of the controversial procedure.
“I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote in 1994, according to the openly conservative National Review. “As you may know, I have consistently—on no fewer than 50 occasions—voted against federal funding of abortions.”
In his book “Promises to Keep,” published in 2007, he wrote: “I’ve stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than 30 years. I still vote against partial birth abortion and federal funding.”
When entering the Senate in 1973, Biden was pro-life and said that the Supreme Court went “too far” in the Roe v. Wade decision, which claimed that abortion was a constitutional right.
Biden, then 39, voted for a constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to overturn the Supreme Court decision, reported the openly left New York Times.
He also voted in the 1980s multiple times against funding abortions for federal employees unless they were a medical necessity for mothers.
Like the other top Democratic presidential contenders, Biden has been championing abortion access and decried any limits to the procedure. Also this week, his campaign said that he would support Congress enshrining abortion rights into federal law “should it become necessary.”
Biden has faced criticism for his increasingly pro-abortion stance, including from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
In 2008, Chaput said that views expressed by Biden during a “Meet the Press” interview were misguided.
Biden used “a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t ‘impose’ their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion,” Chaput said.
In 2016, Chaput again struck out at Biden, along with Rep. Tim Kaine, who was running for vice president with Hillary Clinton.
“Two prominent Catholics,” he said, “a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party, both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.”
Biden’s latest comments come after Democratic contender Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana mayor, said that there shouldn’t be any limits on abortion.
“I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on where you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line,” Buttigieg said at a Fox News town hall in New Hampshire. “And I trust women to draw the line.”
His stance clashes with answers by the overwhelming majority of voters in numerous polls.