Joe Biden's Long Evolution on Abortion Rights Holds Surprises - NBC New York
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Joe Biden's Long Evolution on Abortion Rights Holds Surprises

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    Joe Biden's Long Evolution on Abortion Rights Holds Surprises
    Scott Eisen/Getty Images
    Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a campaign event at the IBEW Local 490 on June 4, 2019 in Concord, New Hampshire.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden's stance on abortion has grown more supportive over the decades. But his past opposition to most federal funding for abortion services is more striking than his supporters may be aware of, according to an analysis of his Senate record by NBC News

    The one-time U.S. senator from Delaware opposed Medicaid to fund abortion services with exceptions for victims of rape and incest, in addition to concerns for the woman's life, back in 1977. The rape and incest exceptions passed in that case, but Biden voted in 1981 to again remove them, in what was the most far-reaching ban on federal funds ever enacted by Congress. Biden also voted to prevent federal workers from using health services on abortion services, except in cases to save the life of the mother. 

    Biden, a Roman Catholic who personally opposes abortion, recently told supporters in an email that "I refuse to impose my religious beliefs on other people." 

    But his campaign confirmed to NBC News that he still supports the four-decade-old Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman, setting him apart from other Democratic candidates running for president.

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    [NATL] Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)