Democratic front-runner for the US President post and former vice-president Joe Biden.
Democratic front-runner Joe Biden came out on Thursday against the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds for abortion, just a day after affirming his support and drawing fierce criticism from rivals and progressive activists.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.” Biden said. “Times have changed.”
After his stance was reported by NBC News, several of his competitors in the campaign highlighted their differences on Twitter.
California Senator Kamala Harris chimed in: “No woman’s access to reproductive health care should be based on how much money she has. We must repeal the Hyde Amendment.”
Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL, an abortion rights activist group, praised Biden for having “listened to the voices of millions of women and further clarified his position on the Hyde Amendment. Let’s be clear, the Hyde Amendment discriminates against all women, but particularly poor women and women of colour.”
The abrupt shift in the former vice president’s position occurred after a misstep by his campaign.
He has struggled when asked to discuss his treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 Senate hearings that led to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. And even before he entered the race, several women said publicly that he had made them uncomfortable by touching them.
The issue of abortion has taken on renewed significance as several states have-passed legislation-to restrict or criminalise it.
Klobuchar, asked about Biden’s new position on MSNBC, said she was not surprised: “I think it would’ve been a big problem for him.”
During his brief 1988 presidential campaign, Biden was accused of lifting passages for campaign speeches from a speech by Neil Kinnock, a British Labour Party leader. At the time he also acknowledged plagiarising a law review article during his first year of law school, saying he didn’t understand the need to fully cite sources.