Biden Misleadingly Claims He Opposed Hyde Amendment

Changed his position last June after start of presidential campaign

March 15, 2020

Former vice president Joe Biden misleadingly claimed he changed his position on the Hyde Amendment "a while ago" even though he supported the amendment until after he began his 2020 presidential run.

"I did that a while ago," Biden said Sunday about switching his position. At CNN's Democratic primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) criticized Biden for previously supporting the Hyde Amendment.

After repeatedly voting for the amendment over the course of his decades-long career in the Senate, last June Biden said he opposed the amendment—after he faced pressure to do so at the start of his presidential campaign. He blamed recent pro-life legislation passed in several states, saying that "times have changed" on the issue.

The change comes one day after Biden's campaign said the former vice president still supported the amendment.

During Sunday's debate, Biden said he opposed the amendment because public funding for all health care must include abortion. He added that he would codify abortion rights into law as president.

"I would send immediately to the desk of the United States Congress when I'm elected, if I'm elected president, a codification of Roe v. Wade amended by Casey," Biden said, referring to two landmark Supreme Court abortion cases. "Because I think it's a woman's right to choose. I think it's a woman's opportunity to be able to make that decision."

The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of taxpayer money to fund abortions. The initial version of the amendment passed in 1976.