Biden in '06: I'm 'Odd Man Out' in Dem Party Over Abortion

Joe Biden / Getty Images
June 13, 2019

A 2006 interview with Joe Biden demonstrates just how far the candidate's public position on abortion has shifted.

Biden described himself as an "odd man out" in his own party for taking a middle-ground stance on abortion in the interview with Texas Monthly, which CNN recently brought to light. The then-senator said he believed he was out-of-step with the rest of the Democratic Party's support for abortion and that it would be a source of difficulty in a presidential campaign.

"I've made … women's groups and others … very angry because I won't support public funding and I won't support partial birth abortion," Biden said.

"I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it's always a tragedy, and I think that it should be rare and safe, and I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions."

Biden's comments illustrate just how drastically he has transformed his stance on abortion in recent weeks. The issue has become a central point in the 2020 Democratic primary, and support for federal funding has emerged as a litmus test among Democratic candidates.

The 2020 presidential candidate had long supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions, but in the current election cycle that position came under sharp scrutiny by progressive elements of his party.

In May, Biden told an ACLU activist that he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment. Later, in early June, Biden appeared to flip back, when his campaign said he still stood by the rule. But the very next day, Biden gave a speech explaining that he now opposes the Hyde Amendment, citing recent state-level abortion restrictions rather than political considerations in spurring him to reverse his long-time position on the issue.