Jessica Valenti

Biden’s Middle Ground Politics are Bad for Women

There is no room for a presidential nominee who’s behind the curve on abortion rights.

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readJun 7, 2019

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Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

It makes sense that Joe Biden would try to distinguish himself right now. In a crowded Democratic field, the former vice president hasn’t exactly been doing a ton of campaigning. The time is ripe to shake things up!

Coming out as the only nominee to support the Hyde Amendment, however — only to be forced to reverse his position after public pressure — is not exactly the distinction many on the left would like to see.

The Hyde Amendment — which prevents Medicaid money from funding abortion unless the pregnancy is a result of rape, incest, or would endanger a woman’s life — is a discriminatory policy. It ensures that poor women who rely on Medicaid cannot access care, even if they need an abortion to protect their health.

Biden’s support for Hyde had put him far out of step with the other candidates, and with leading abortion-rights groups. Planned Parenthood calls Hyde “harmful” and “penalizing,” and NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue said Biden’s then-position “further endangers women and families already facing enormous hurdles.”

That it took activists and fellow presidential candidates shaming Biden for him to finally change course — and that he did so with “no apologies” for his previous support of the amendment — makes it clear that he is (still) the wrong choice in 2020.

American women deserve a representative who cares about and understands their lives and the issues that impact them.

There is no room for a presidential nominee who doesn’t offer his full-throated support of abortion rights from the get-go. Not when the GOP is rolling back rights state-by-state in the most extreme way possible. Not when Republicans are talking about arresting and jailing women who have abortions. Not when the GOP has its sights on birth control.

American women deserve a representative who cares about and understands their lives and the issues that impact them.

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.