Washington D.C., Jun 7, 2019 / 10:00 am
The 1976 Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of Medicaid funds for most abortions. Biden, who voted as a senator in favor of the Hyde Amendment when it was first written, had reaffirmed his support for the law often, most recently on Wednesday.
Biden's former support for the Hyde Amendment had prompted many other Democratic candidates for president to announce their support for federally-funded abortions. The Democratic Party's 2016 platform includes a call for the public funding of abortions.
Before Thursday evening's switch, Biden had supported some aspects of pro-life legislation during his political career. In addition to his Senate vote in favor of the Hyde amendment, he also supported the Mexico City Policy in 1984, voted again in favor of Hyde in 1993, and voted to ban partial-birth abortion in 1995 and 1997.
In an interview shortly after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Biden refused to support unrestricted access to abortion and said that he thought the Supreme Court "went too far" in their decision. In 1981, he lent his name to the "Biden Amendment," which bans the use of federal funds for biomedical research involving abortion or involuntary sterilization.
By 2012, in the vice presidential debate against then-Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Biden described himself as being personally pro-life, though he also expressed his support for legally protecting abortion.
Biden is Catholic and has spoken publicly about his faith.