Commentary

Year-by-Year Breakdown of Joe Biden's Abortion Flip-Flop

By Bill Donohue | September 29, 2020 | 3:12pm EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden entered the senate in 1973, the same year the Supreme Court legalized abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision. He has evolved from being strongly pro-life to rabidly pro-abortion. Here is a list of his changing positions.

1973: Biden said Roe v. Wade had gone "too far."

1974: He said that a woman seeking an abortion should not have the "sole right to say what should happen to her body."

1976: He votes for the "Hyde Amendment," which bans federal funding of abortions.

1981: He introduces the "Biden Amendment," which prohibits foreign-aid funding of biomedical research involving abortion.

1982: He votes for a constitutional amendment allowing states to overturn Roe v. Wade.

1983: He votes against a constitutional amendment allowing states to overturn Roe v. Wade.

1984: He votes for the Mexico City Policy which bans federal funding for abortion referrals or counseling. 

1987: He becomes chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and leads the fight against Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork, whom he said was opposed to Roe v. Wade.

1994: He says, "those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them."

1995-2003: He votes six times to ban partial-birth abortion.

2007: He criticizes the Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion, calling it "paternalistic." He also says he "strongly" supports Roe v. Wade.

2012: He says the government does not have "a right to tell other people that women, they can't control their body."

2019: He says he is opposed to the "Hyde Amendment," which bans the federal funding of abortion. 

2020: He says he supports abortion "under any circumstance."

There is no one in public life who has undergone such a dramatic transformation. He did not change because of the Catholic Church: it did not change its position on abortion. He did not change because of science: it did not change its position on when life begins. It was Biden who changed, and he did so for totally political reasons. 

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

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