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On Wednesday, Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination, as reported by The New York Times, surprised many political observers by announcing his support for the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment, which is an annual rider to the HHS-Labor appropriations bill, limits the ability of federal Medicaid dollars to fund elective abortions. Though a number of Democrats have supported the Hyde Amendment in the past, it has become increasingly controversial within the Democratic Party in recent years. In 2016, for the first time, the Democratic Party’s Presidential platform actually called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. Furthermore, Biden’s statement, which was reportedly confirmed by his campaign, is an apparent contradiction to his remarks to an ACLU volunteer in May.
Even though many Democratic elected officials oppose the Hyde Amendment, it still enjoys substantial public support. Separate polls by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and YouGov in 2016 both found that over 55 percent of Americans support the Hwayde Amendment. Interestingly, the YouGov poll found that self-identified Democrats were fairly evenly split on the issue. Additionally, even polls from politically liberal states like Maine show majorities of voters oppose taxpayer funding of elective abortions. Furthermore, the Hyde Amendment has been good policy. A substantial body of academic research shows that cutting taxpayer funding for abortion reduces abortion rates, and my...
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