2020 Democrats distance themselves from Biden over Hyde Amendment

Several Democrats running for president in 2020 distanced themselves on Wednesday from former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE after he confirmed his support for a controversial policy banning the use of federal funds for certain abortion services.

Biden campaign aides confirmed to The Hill Wednesday that the former vice president maintains his support for the Hyde Amendment, which prevents government health programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. 


The campaign added that Biden would be open to repealing the amendment if access to abortion protected under Roe v. Wade was threatened. 

Biden is the only Democrat running for president in 2020 who supports the Hyde Amendment. Other front-runners, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Trump's debate performance was too little, too late Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming Jennifer Aniston: 'It's not funny to vote for Kanye' MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFinal debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandInternal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon Democrats question Amazon over reported interference of workers' rights to organize MORE (D-N.Y.), have all said they support repealing it. The Democratic National Committee also included repealing the Hyde Amendment in its 2016 platform. 

The crowded 2020 Democratic primary field quickly began criticizing Biden for his support of the amendment, touting their vows to repeal the amendment.

“There is #NoMiddleGround on women’s rights. Abortion is a constitutional right. Under my Medicare for All plan, we will repeal the Hyde Amendment,” Sanders, who has consistently finished second to Biden in polling, tweeted.

"No woman's access to reproductive health care should be based on how much money she has. We must repeal the Hyde Amendment," Harris said.

Warren told reporters she “will lead the fight” to overturn the amendment and it “should not be American law.”

“Repealing the Hyde Amendment is critical so that low-income women in particular can have access to the reproductive care they need and deserve,” Gillibrand said. “Reproductive rights are human rights, period. They should be nonnegotiable for all Democrats.”

"The Hyde Amendment is a threat to reproductive rights that punishes women and families who already struggle with access to adequate health care services," Booker tweeted." 

“No matter your income or where you live, every woman should have access to health care including abortion,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said, retweeting a video of him calling for the amendment’s repeal.

“I voted against the Hyde Amendment in 1993. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Reproductive health care is health care. Period,” Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOn The Trail: A third coronavirus wave builds just before Election Day Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Pandemic politics dominate competitive governor's races MORE (D), who served in the House when the amendment passed, tweeted.

“All women should have access to reproductive care, regardless of their income or the state they live in. Abortion care is health care—it's time to repeal the #HydeAmendment,” former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said. 

“We can’t live in the past when it comes to women’s health. The next president must appoint judges who #ProtectRoe BUT also MUST fight to #RepealHyde. @PPact @NARAL @ilyseh,” Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGraham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' President Trump, Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19 House in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted, tagging several abortion rights groups.

“The Hyde Amendment is a tax on millions of Americans seeking abortion. It’s wrong and should be repealed. Access to abortion care shouldn’t be limited by your zip code, income, or health care provider. It is a RIGHT,” Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanNow's the time to make 'Social Emotional Learning' a national priority Mourners gather outside Supreme Court after passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lincoln Project hits Trump for criticizing Goodyear, 'an American company' MORE (D-Ohio) tweeted.

"At a time when women's rights are under attack, we need to stand tall for our values. The #HydeAmendent actively harms women by limiting access and choice. It needs to be repealed," former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race MORE said."

"Defenders of women and their health care rights have agreed for decades: the Hyde Amendment is federally sanctioned discrimination. It is wrong and should be overturned immediately," Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCotton mocks NY Times over claim of nonpartisanship, promises to submit op-eds as test Democrats sense momentum for expanding child tax credit OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-Colo.) tweeted.

"The Hyde Amendment only hurts low income women, especially women of color. If you don’t support repeal, you shouldn’t be the Democratic nominee," New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMedian rent in Manhattan falls below ,000 for first time in nearly a decade De Blasio's obsession with racial balance in schools has a clear victim: Asian students Citigroup executive to run for NYC mayor: report MORE tweeted, adding that "when it comes to supporting American women on issues like repealing the Hyde Amendment, @JoeBiden is Dr. Jekyll."

Biden’s continued support for the amendment also earned him criticism from several abortion rights groups.

“The unfair Hyde Amendment makes it so that those who have the least end up having to pay the most to access abortion, and those who are service members or live on reservations are often left with no coverage for abortion care,” Kelly Robinson, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's executive director, said.

“We encourage any candidate who doesn't recognize Hyde's impact to speak to the women it hurts most — particularly on women of color and women with low incomes — to learn more about the harmful impacts of this discriminatory policy.” 

Biden’s decades-long tenure in the Senate shows a number of votes that imposed varying restrictions on federal funds being used for abortion, including voting against a 1977 compromise that allowed Medicaid to fund abortions with exceptions for rape, incest or medical safety of the mother, and several votes against allowing federal workers to use government-paid health insurance for abortion services.

The debate over abortion, long a hot-button issue for Democrats, has only ramped up in recent months as a slate of conservative states has moved to adopt stringent restrictions on the procedure.

Many states have banned abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, often around six weeks into a pregnancy, though Alabama went the furthest by completely banning the procedure unless the mother’s life is at risk.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.