You may or may not have heard that Joe Biden – considered by many to be the current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate front-runner – recently renounced his support for the Hyde Amendment. Biden had previously supported the Hyde Amendment during much of his political career, but he announced the first week of this month that he no longer supported it.
“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,” Biden said, adding that he had “no apologies” for his previous position in support of the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment—the appropriations legislation first introduced in 1976 by Rep. Henry Hyde — bars federal funding for elective abortions through Medicaid. The amendment has saved over two million preborn children and celebrated its 40th anniversary on September 30.
Even TIME magazine, when reporting on Biden’s decision to withdraw his support of the Hyde Amendment said, ” For years, the Hyde Amendment represented a rare point of bipartisan consensus on abortion in Congress, with lawmakers from both parties agreeing that taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions, with some exceptions.”
However, the Democratic Party made repealing the Hyde Amendment a plank in their 2016 national platform. Prior to enactment of Hyde, the Medicaid program paid for roughly 300,000 abortions annually.
It is quite likely that Biden’s withdrawal of his support for the Hyde Amendment will hurt his position as the 2020 Democratic front-runner. Michael New writes for Lifenews:
Biden’s reversal on Hyde — which he consistently supported during his decades as a U.S. senator from Delaware — has had an interesting effect on his public support. A Morning Consult poll suggested that his shift will benefit him in the primary, as 30 percent of likely Democratic-primary voters said they would be more likely to support him, while only 19 percent said they would be less likely to do so. But the same poll found that his opposition to Hyde could hurt him in the general election, finding that only 19 percent of general-election voters said they’d be more likely to vote for him, while 24 percent said they’d be less likely to do so.
His switch on the issue is evidence of the changing demographics within the Democratic party, as an older generation of voters is being replaced by a younger cohort that tends to be more liberal on social issues. Biden, along with his fellow primary contenders, clearly believes he must support taxpayer funding of abortion to be competitive on the left, despite the fact that polling data indicates this position is unpopular with the public. Republican politicians should aim to make their own opposition to publicly funded abortion a salient campaign issue during the 2020 election.
A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans are more pro life than ever before, with the majority of Americans opposing abortion. The Gallup poll is consistent with other polls on the pro life/abortion topic. Other recent polls have revealed similar findings. A recent survey showed that the majority of Americans think that bans on abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected are not to restrictive, according to The Hill.