Joe Biden on Abortion

Like many American politicians, Joe Biden has had a long and complicated relationship to the Abortion debate as evidenced by his voting record and recent public comments. As of August, 2020 Joe Biden supports the women’s right to choose as well as supports federal funding for abortion’s in some cases. However the details regarding the federal funding of abortions, as politico noted, have been few and far between. Attempts for clarification to the Biden campaign have gone unanswered but we’ll attempt to unravel some of that here.

Joe Biden on Roe v. Wade

As quoted in the politico story above, Joe Biden not only supports the Roe v. Wade decision, but believes “it should be the law.” Readers unfamiliar with America’s three bodies of government, or states rights vs federal rights, might be a little confused about the statement. In an attempt to avoid boring our American readers, we’ll just note that individual State’s have the ability to pass their own laws on abortion (or anything else) if they don’t conflict with federal laws. However even that is complicated as states “could” violate federal laws (notice you can gamble your heart out in Las Vegas) but face legal challenges in court and/or federal funding limitations.

By creating a federal law the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision would solidify the law on federal grounds and have ramifications across the country as conservative leaning states have scrambled to pass fetal heartbeat bills.

While working in the Senate, Biden wrote the following letter to a concerned citizen of Delaware (the state which he represented) dated December 26, 1977. A copy of the photo will be attached below the full letter (below). Note that this was forty years ago, one of the intriguing aspects of the abortion debate is how limited the shifts in public opinion has been on the issue over the last several decades. In fact, the percentage of Americans who said abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances” in a 1977 Gallup poll was 20%. What is the number in 2020? 20%.

Joe Biden’s Full 1977 Letter On Abortion Vote

Dear Delawarean:

As you probably already know, the Senate and the House of Representatives finally agreed on language dealing with the problem of medicaid-covered abortions December 15. The 1977 fiscal year appropriations bill prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, “…unless the life of the mother is in danger.” This is the position which I have consistently supported.

During consideration of the 1978 fiscal year appropriation bill for the Department of health, Education and Welfare, the house again passed this same language. The Senate, however, passed a broader definition of the circumstances under which medicaid funds could be used to pay for an abortion. I did not support this version.

The language that the Senate and House finally agreed to (after five months of debate) will protect both the woman and her unborn child. The agreement prohibits the use of any funds in the bill to pay for abortions unless continued pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life, or in the opinion of two doctors, cause “severe and long lasting physical health damage.”

The bill, however, also provides funding for “medical procedures” to victims of rape and incest if the offense have been promptly reported to police or to a public health agency.

January 23 is the date of the 1978 “March for life.” Again, arrangements have been made for you to meet with your Congressional representatives similar to last year. The meeting will be held in room 1318 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 3:00 p.m.

Looking forward to having the opportunity of meeting with you on the 23rd of January.

Sincerely,

Joe Biden

Joe Biden Abortion Letter

Note that this article will be updated as new information regarding the particulars of Joe Biden’s abortion strategy come to light. It is still unclear, as of Aug. 24, 2020, how federal funds will, according to Joe Biden’s plan, be utilized by family planning.  If we have misrepresented Joe Biden’s views, or his previous views, please let us know (and provide evidence!). 

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