2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign has confirmed that Biden still supports the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid from covering abortion procedures.
NBC News reported Wednesday that despite his support for Roe v. Wade, Biden hasn’t shifted from his conservative stance on the amendment that his own party swore to overturn in 2016 (as have all his female 2020 rivals).
However, Biden’s campaign told NBC that he’d consider repealing the Hyde Amendment if current abortion access gets blocked by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.
The campaign’s current position contradicts what Biden himself told an American Civil Liberties volunteer in May, when he said he would commit to abolishing the amendment.
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
Ilyse Hogue, the president of the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, criticized Biden for his stance.
“There’s no political or ideological excuse for Joe Biden’s support for the Hyde Amendment, which translates into discrimination against poor women and women of color, plain and simple,” Hogue said in a released statement. “His position further endangers women and families already facing enormous hurdles and creates two classes of rights for people in this country, which is inherently undemocratic.”
Planned Parenthood’s executive director, Kelly Robinson, also knocked Biden.
“The unfair Hyde Amendment makes it so that those who have the least end up having to pay the most to access abortion, and those who are service members or live on reservations are often left with no coverage for abortion care,” Robinson told NBC. “We encourage any candidate who doesn’t recognize Hyde’s impact to speak to the women it hurts most — particularly on women of color and women with low incomes — to learn more about the harmful impacts of this discriminatory policy.”
The only exceptions to the Hyde Amendment are rape, incest, and threats to the mother’s life. NBC notes that while Biden served in the Senate, he voted multiple times to strip the rape and incest exceptions.