Nearly all the Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential race came together to rally for abortion rights at the June 22 Planned Parenthood “We Decide” forum, including Joe Biden, who until recently was in favor of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
A military veteran in the audience told Democratic frontrunner Biden that she’d been sexually assaulted multiple times and had three abortions, which were covered by Medicaid at the time but now are not due to new, stricter laws in West Virginia:
“I fought for some of these women, and I promise you, their pain is real and their experiences are real, and it would break your hearts,” she said. “Across the country, generations of women in situations like mine have suffered because of the Hyde Amendment, because it is in place.”
Biden promised that his as-yet-unreleased health care plan would provide for abortion, despite career-long support of the Hyde Amendment:
“I laid out of health care plan that is going to provide federally-funded health care for all women, and women who now are denied even Medicare in their home states across the board up, you’d be automatically signed up under [an] Obamacare-like provision,” he said.
According to Biden, the Hyde Amendment used to “split the difference” back when he supported it, whatever the fuck that means:
“It became really clear to me that although the Hyde Amendment was designed to try to split the difference here to make sure women still had access, you can’t have access if in fact everyone is covered by a federal policy,” Biden said. “And so, that’s why, at the same time I announced that policy, I announced that I can no longer continue to abide by the Hyde Amendment.”
“Can we just be clear that if you’re a Democrat, you’re against the Hyde Amendment, period?” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked.
Another emotional moment came when the executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund told Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that as a 19-year-old unable to afford an abortion, she’d tried to end the pregnancy by riding rides at the county fair that banned pregnant riders, drinking until she vomited, throwing herself down the stairs, and taking hot baths.
“No legislature in any one of these states — which are mostly white men, mostly older men — they cannot know a minute of your experience. Not a minute of your experience as a mother, not a minute of your experience that you were this close to putting your life in your own hands,” Gillibrand responded.
Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren promised to go on “offense” to defend Roe v. Wade:
“We’ve been on defense for 47 years, and it’s not working,” Warren said. “We need to go on offense on Roe v. Wade.”
According to a recent poll, 77% of Americans don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, though 62% of Republican women said they’d like to see it reversed or have added restrictions.