The inability of poor women to obtain federally funded abortions is the latest issue up for grabs among the two dozen or so Democratic contenders for president.
An NBC news analysis of former Vice-President Joe Biden’s abortion record “includes repeated examples of Biden rejecting exceptions for victims of rape and incest that were supported by many members of his party at the time.”
While Biden remains committed to defending Roe v. Wade, the seminal abortion case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, his campaign confirmed this week that he still supports the Hyde Amendment. The 1976 law prohibits federal funding of abortion, leaving low-income women on Medicaid without coverage.
Legislation introduced in the Senate in March would allow health plans funded by the federal government to cover abortion. Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen is an original sponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act, as are senators and presidential contenders Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar.
Wednesday, Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill. Asked by the Current if the timing had anything to do with Biden’s positions making headlines, Cortez Masto’s office instead cited the accelerating attack on abortion rights at the state level.
Presidential contenders senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker have also signed on to the measure as co-sponsors.
In a statement Wednesday, presidential hopeful Jay Inslee, governor of Washington, did not mention Biden by name, but asserted his long standing opposition to the Hyde Amendment.
“When it comes to protecting women’s health care, there is no question where I stand: I will always support reproductive freedom,” the Washington governor said in a statement. “I voted against the Hyde Amendment in 1993, and as governor I signed the Reproductive Parity Act to ensure everyone has access to reproductive care. At a time when women’s health care is under attack, we cannot afford to go backwards. We need a president who understands that reproductive health care is health care. Period.”
Hopefuls Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. Representative from Texas, and former Obama administration official Julian Castro also voiced support for ending the Hyde Amendment in the wake of Biden’s support, according to the Associated Press.