By Mary Margaret Olohan
The political advocacy arm of the nation’s largest abortion provider announced its endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden in his bid to become president of the United States Monday.
“This is literally a life and death election,” said Acting President of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson ahead of the announcement, according to NPR. “We felt like we can’t endure another four years of Trump; we have to do everything we can to get him out of office.”
Planned Parenthood repeatedly emphasized that the organization is opposing President Donald Trump at all costs, praising Biden’s record on sexual and reproductive health care and noting that “when he left the Senate, he had a 100% voting record from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.”
“We need leadership that fights for our health, our rights, and our lives,” McGill Johnson said in an email announcement, referencing the coronavirus pandemic, abortion restrictions, and systemic racism. “We can’t afford four more years of Trump. That’s why Planned Parenthood Action Fund is endorsing Vice President Joe Biden for President of the United States.”
“Donald Trump is dangerous,” she added. “We must do everything we can to get him out of office this November.”
Biden has taken a hard left stance on abortion access during the 2020 presidential campaign, but his present stances on abortion are a major shift from his past positions on the issue.
As early as 1973, 30-year-old Biden said that the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade had gone “too far.” In March 1982, Biden helped lawmakers pass an amendment to allow states to overturn Roe through the Senate Judiciary Committee — an amendment that the National Abortion Rights Action League called “the most devastating attack yet on abortion rights.”
“I’m probably a victim, or a product, however you want to phrase it, of my background,” Biden said at the time, according to The New York Times, referring his Catholic faith as the reason he voted for the amendment. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a “crime against human life.”
Biden told the Catholic Diocese Newspaper in March 1986 that “abortion is wrong from the moment of conception.” He also encouraged the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in their fight against abortion, saying that the “most effective pro-life groups are those who keep trying to push back the frontier.”
And as recently as 2006, Biden said, “I do not view abortion as a choice and a right.”
Biden supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger, up until June 2019. Biden’s campaign confirmed to NBC on June 5, 2019 that though he supports Roe v. Wade, he still supported Hyde.
The statement was greeted with strong backlash from pro-abortion groups, left-wing activists, and Biden’s fellow candidates. Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Kelley Robinson warned Biden that his stance alienated him from the Democratic Party.
Within 24 hours of reaffirming his support for Hyde, Biden announced on June 6 that he could “no longer support an amendment” that cuts off abortion funding. The former vice president cited attacks on abortion legislation from GOP lawmakers as a reason for his switch.
Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation on Biden’s quick change in position on Hyde.
Biden has since presented himself as an avid supporter of abortion access, promising to codify Roe v. Wade, require judicial nominees to support Roe as settled law, repeal the Hyde Amendment, require private insurers to cover contraception, repeal the “domestic gag rule,” and preserve and protect federal funding for Planned Parenthood, according to a November survey conducted by the New York Times.
Biden has also said in the survey he would not even consider a running mate who opposes abortion access.
“Joe Biden firmly believes that women have a constitutional right to choose. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and should not be overturned,” a spokesman for Biden said in a statement to the Times in November, adding that “Vice President Biden has fought for women’s right to choose throughout his career,” and citing examples of Biden’s pro-abortion efforts in the Senate. The statement did not include any mention of Biden’s previous pro-life votes.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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