Former vice president Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he was dropping his support for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits any federal funds from being used for abortion.
According to NBC News reporter Mike Memoli, Biden made the announcement during remarks at a DNC gala in Atlanta.
The 2020 front runner said he “can no longer” support an amendment that cuts off such critical abortion funding, particularly in the midst of the GOP’s escalating war on abortion rights.
More from NBC News reporter Mike Memoli:
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) June 7, 2019
Memoli reports how Biden went off-teleprompter when announcing his reversal:
So Joe Biden is speaking tonight at the DNC’s I Will Vote gala here in Atlanta. He is actually still on stage and he began his remarks by going off script. He actually has a teleprompter set up, but he was reading from prepared remarks indicating that this was a very late decision by the campaign. He explained his past support for the Hyde amendment, saying that it was part of funding legislation that was a traditional part of the government funding that he had to support but also that his past position has changed now because in a situation like this one today, he said, where Republican governors, in particular, are directly assaulting women’s health, are making it impossible, even for the most vulnerable citizens to be able to afford abortion services, that he could no longer support the Hyde amendment, any amendment that prevents this kind of services. … So Joe Biden, in the first real reversal of his campaign, doing so tonight here in Atlanta.
Biden’s reversal is fair game for critics, but the GOP remains the biggest threat to abortion rights
Joe Biden’s previous position on the Hyde amendment is certainly a valid point of criticism that many Democratic primary candidates and voters have seized on in recent days.
As the Democratic primary campaign continues to develop, it’s important for the former vice president to explain to voters why they can trust him to protect rights that are increasingly under attack by Republican lawmakers across the country.
But in having this debate, Democrats must not lose sight of the real threat to abortion rights in America: the Republican Party at all levels of government, from state houses to the U.S. Supreme Court to the White House.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.