'A Quarter-Measure at Best': Despite New Stance on Hyde, Say Critics, Biden No Progressive on Reproductive Rights
When it comes to supporting abortion rights, Joe Biden is no progressive.
That’s the message from women’s healthcare advocates after the Democratic presidential candidate announced Thursday that he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment while stressing that he makes “no apologies” for his previous backing of the measure that particularly impacts low-income women and women of color.
Hyde, passed in 1976, bars federal funds from being used for abortion care except in the cases of rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger.
Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser in Atlanta Thursday evening, Biden said, “If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”
“I’ve been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents,” he said, adding that “circumstances have changed” recently. Biden pointed to the wave of “extreme laws in clear violation of constitutional rights” enacted recently by Republican lawmakers.
“I want to be clear,” said Biden. “I make no apologies for my last position.”
The former vice president’s reversal of position—which came the same week as he drew outrage by affirming his support for the anti-choice amendment—drew praise from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who called it “Proof that the power of women can change things.”
But simply withdrawing support for Hyde is “a quarter-measure at best,” said Jodi Jacobson, president and editor in chief of Rewire.News.
In fact, wrote Jacobson, Biden’s new comments suggest that he doesn’t grasp the real harm that amendment has caused over its 43-year life, and reveal “a brazen abrogation of his and his party’s responsibility for the damage.”
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