MOUNT PLEASANT, Ia. — Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of more than 20 candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday he changed his view on federal funding for most abortion procedures after the closing of abortion-providing clinics in the South.
"I still believe if there were, in fact, a means by which poor women would be able to access their constitutional right and it was able to be paid for without taxpayers' money, it should be done," Biden told reporters in Mount Pleasant.
But there are fewer options than prior years for low-income women to access abortions because of funding cuts and "attacks on Roe v. Wade," Biden said, which is why he now disapproves of the Hyde Amendment. Passed in 1976, the amendment bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions in most cases. Biden previously supported the measure but recently reversed his stance.
"The elimination of access to clinics in all those southern states — a number of them have one or no clinics, so that's the reason I changed my position," he said.
Biden said he reached the decision while finalizing his campaign's health care platform and did not consult anyone about his views on the Hyde Amendment.
"I made a commitment that I would not ever attempt to impose my religious views on anyone else in terms of relations to this most unique question in all of humanity: When does human life begin? When does that occur?" he said. "So, I'm not going to do that."