Hyde Amendment: Biden’s abortion flip-flop
“I think it’s fair to award Joe Biden with a triple flip-flop for his recent abortion acrobatics,” said Philip Klein in WashingtonExaminer.com. The presumptive Democratic front-runner reversed his position on federal funding for abortions no less than three times in recent weeks. When asked at a campaign event whether he supports the Hyde Amendment, which bans Medicaid funding for abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the patient’s life, Biden said, “It can’t stay.” Later, Biden—a Catholic who has supported the amendment since the 1970s—quickly backtracked, saying he misheard the question. Predictably, this enraged pro-abortion liberals. So, Biden reversed himself yet again and called for the Hyde Amendment to be repealed. How telling. Moderate Democrats like Biden used to embrace Hyde as “an olive branch to the pro-life community.” But in the “pro-abortion extremism” of today’s Democratic Party, moderation is heresy.
The middle ground on abortion “no longer exists,” said Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post, and it’s Republicans who’ve made it this way. As long as abortion remained generally available, it was possible for moderates like Biden to embrace compromises like the Hyde Amendment. But with Republican state legislatures shutting down abortion clinics with ever-stricter regulations, the procedure is becoming de facto unavailable in many parts of the country. That’s why the Hyde Amendment—which makes it much harder for low-income women to get the procedure—is no longer acceptable to pro-choice Democrats.
If moderation is now impossible, asked S.E. Cupp in CNN.com, what is the point of Biden’s candidacy? The former vice president was supposed to be the electable option for those of us who can’t stand Trump but are frightened by the far left. Most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in at least some cases, but they’re not comfortable with requiring taxpayers to pay for it; only 36 percent of voters want to scrap the Hyde Amendment. Biden’s cave will haunt him if he wins the nomination. Whatever happens, the amendment probably isn’t going anywhere, said Bill Scher in RealClearPolitics.com. Presidents Clinton and Obama both opposed Hyde, but didn’t try to get rid of it, because they knew that would produce a political backlash. Eliminating Hyde is the mirror image of the GOP’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood—popular with the base, but “a sure loser” with the general electorate.