Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden gave the nation whiplash this week as he equivocated back and forth before settling on the extreme position that taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions, opposing the Hyde Amendment’s 43-year precedent.
The worst part is that he knows better.
Years ago, as a young lobbyist for Concerned Women for America, I spoke with then-Sen. Joe Biden about abortion on many occasions. Back then, Biden voted to ban the late-term partial-birth abortion procedure in which a child’s skull is pierced and brain removed.
Biden also firmly supported and voted in favor of legislation called the Hyde Amendment, named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill. This amendment is routinely added to spending bills that fund Medicaid and other programs.
Thank God, the old Joe and other members of Congress in 1976 understood the importance of protecting human life.
Alas, Joe Biden has chosen political expedience over his own faith and the religious conscience rights of millions of Americans.
The original Hyde Amendment passed on Sept. 30, 1976. In the years that have followed, Congress has altered the Hyde Amendment several times. First, by prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions "except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term," and then in late 1993 by expanding the use of federal funds for abortions to include cases of rape and incest.
Since its passage, according to the Lozier Institute, the Hyde Amendment has significantly impacted the reduction of abortion rates and protected the unborn. Multiple studies cited in that report demonstrate that when the Hyde Amendment took effect, birth rates for women on Medicaid increased and abortion decreased.
Research also suggests that since its passage in 1976, the Hyde Amendment has saved over 2 million children. That’s 2 million more people who are grown or are growing up to have their own children.
That group no doubt includes musicians, doctors, scientists, artists, first responders, military members and teachers, because in this nation, we are not destined to poverty but given limitless opportunity. Many of those children will serve others and contribute to the health, wealth and safety of our nation. We are blessed that they survived.
As an active Catholic, Joe Biden in the 1990s understood that people of faith and others believe in the intrinsic value of every human life. To most Christians, it is sinful to participate in the taking of innocent human life.
And though there is significant disagreement about the limits of abortion, a consensus formed early and firmly that the vast majority of Americans do not want their money entangled with the abortion industry. In fact, polling performed on this topic before the 2016 presidential election showed that 58 percent of all likely voters supported the Hyde Amendment, compared to only 36 percent who did not.
Biden knows all of this but has been radicalized by the other candidates running in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Alas, he has chosen political expediency over his own faith and the religious conscience rights of millions of Americans.
Of course, Joe Biden wants to be president. He has wanted this for much of his life and failed twice before. I suppose this time he is willing to do almost anything to win, even if it means selling out the most vulnerable human beings by pandering to a group of people who demand that abortion must be legal even up until birth. How cynical and sad.
My question for the new Joe Biden is this: Is it really worth it? As the Bible asks: "For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul? "