Joe Biden is a man of convictions — and if you don’t like those, he’ll come up with new ones for you. The former VP and presumed Democratic frontrunner reversed his earlier reversal of his reversal on … wait, where were we? Oh, right — now Biden backs federal subsidies for abortion, his fourth position on the issue in the last three weeks:
Joe Biden on Thursday reversed his longstanding opposition to public funding of abortions, saying that the successful Republican nationwide “assault” on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy forced him to change his mind. …
He made the surprise announcement at the start of a speech during the Democratic National Committee’s gala in Atlanta, which was devoted more to voting rights and minority empowerment than abortion.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right,” Biden said Thursday. “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.”
Biden, however, did indicate that he would not support taxpayer funding for abortion if it became more readily available for women in need, particularly women who live in poverty.
Like much of everything else Biden says, this is utterly incoherent. The Hyde Amendment has nothing to do with state laws on abortion; it just prohibits federal funding of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, and physical threats to a mother’s life. The amendment has nothing at all to do with “zip codes,” nor will it magically make abortion more legal than it already is in various zip codes.
Just how incoherent? The night before, Team Biden sent out one of its main surrogates to defend Biden’s previous position of support for Hyde:
Just how abrupt/poorly orchestrated was Joe Biden’s shift on Hyde? Weds night, Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond went on @CuomoPrimeTime to defend Biden’s support for the Hyde amendment. Less than 24 hours later, Biden reversed his position. https://t.co/wjSFGgLfC9
— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) June 7, 2019
Biden’s deeply religious and guided by his faith! At least, until other Democrats start criticizing him, at which point he becomes deeply self-interested and guided by his ambition. Want to bet Richmond is rethinking his position too — on the primaries?
Basically, this is Biden’s attempts to blame his flip-flop of a flip-flop on Republicans. He should be casting his blame at fellow Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination, most of whom like Biden voted repeatedly for budgets with the Hyde Amendment in them. They made this into a presidential election issue despite the fact that budget amendments are a congressional process, and then pressured Biden into falling into lockstep with their extreme positions. It shows that (a) Democrats desperately need a lesson in basic civics, and (b) Biden will say anything to get elected.
In other words, Biden can run — but only if he doesn’t Hyde. And the Democrats’ stampede to the extreme Left continues in a cycle in which all they really need to do is not be crazy.
Update: EWTN’s Jason Calvi asks a good question:
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) June 7, 2019
The Congressional Research Service provided an analysis of abortion policy in foreign aid last September, which is where Calvi’s screen-grab originates. Here’s the specific description, part of the overview of restrictions the US places on its aid relating to abortion:
Biden Amendment (1981) In 1981, Congress passed an amendment to the FAA specifying that the United States may not provide foreign assistance for biomedical research related to abortion or involuntary sterilization. This provision, named after Senator Joseph Biden, states the following:
None of the funds made available to carry out this part may be used to pay for any biomedical research which relates, in whole or in part, to methods of, or the performance of, abortions or involuntary sterilization as a means of family planning.16
The Biden amendment has also been included in foreign operations appropriations acts. Most recently, it was included in Section 7018 of the FY2018 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.17 The provision as included in the FAA and the FY2018 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Act applies to all foreign assistance activities authorized by part I of the FAA (development assistance).
This is similar to the Hyde Amendment, in that it’s congressional action rather than executive policy. Will Biden renounce his own policy now?