Democratic presidential hopeful said Thursday he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, just one day after reaffirming his decades-long support for the ban on federal funding for abortions.
Biden’s presidential campaign had said Wednesday that he still supported the controversial ban.
The news sparked intense blowback from members of his party, including fellow presidential hopefuls, who criticized Biden for reaffirming his stance amid a spate abortion restrictions passing state legislatures.
“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code,” he said at a Democratic National Convention gala in Atlanta.
Biden cited abortion restrictions recently passed by Republican governors for his change in position.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.”
Biden, a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion, sparked a wave of outrage from abortion rights supporters when his campaign told NBC News he still supported the Hyde amendment.
The Hyde amendment was first passed more than 40 years ago in response to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a woman’s right to abortion. It’s been reauthorized in annual government spending bills ever since, barring Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health programs from paying for abortions.
But opponents of the ban say it disproportionately impacts low-income women, particularly women of color.
His support for the 40-year ban was a departure from the position of the DNC and every Democrat running for president.