Want the best of VICE News in your inbox? Sign up here.
Joe Biden no longer wants to be the only 2020 Democrat who supports a controversial rule to block federal funding for most abortions.
Biden said Thursday night that he doesn't support the Hyde Amendment, a restriction added to the federal budget annually that prevents any money from going toward abortions — except in cases of rape, incest, or serious threats to the mother’s health. The U-turn comes just a day after his campaign told the New York Times Wednesday that he was still in favor of the rule.
Biden’s initial support made him the only 2020 candidate to come out in favor of Hyde, while a slew of his 2020 opponents — including the top three female candidates — almost immediately reiterated that they wanted to do away with the rule entirely.
"I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to … exercise their constitutionally protected right," Biden said Thursday during a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta, according to NBC News. "If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code."
On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren flat-out called Biden’s original stance wrong and pointed out that Hyde most directly affected low-income women through Medicaid.
“Understand this: Women of means will still have access to abortions,” Warren said during an MSNBC town hall Wednesday night. “Who won’t will be poor women.”
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker all doubled down this week as well and said they support repealing Hyde. Abortion groups, too, quickly came after Biden’s support for the law.
“It seemed like he heard a lot of feedback and opened his mind to thinking about this in a different way,” Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Washington Post about Biden’s U-turn.
The Hyde Amendment has historically offered a way for moderate Democrats to support abortion — and divided the party, as a result. But for the first time in 2016, the Democratic Party's official platform included repealing the controversial rule.
Cover image: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the I Will Vote Fundraising Gala Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)