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Biden’s Hyde Amendment Reversal Helps Him with Primary Voters

Former vice president Joe Biden’s decision to abandon his support for a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion may have increased his support among Democratic primary voters, according to a new poll.

About 32 percent of those likely to vote in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries said they are more likely to vote for Biden after he announced his opposition to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for most abortions, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday. Only 19 percent said Biden’s new stance makes him less likely to get their vote.

“I’ve been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents,” Biden said Thursday at a Democratic fundraiser in Atlanta. “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment.”

The Hyde Amendment, originally passed in 1976 a few years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, prohibits funding the procedure through Medicaid except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. The amendment has loomed large in the 2020 debate. Despite voting in September for a spending bill that included it, many candidates in the crowded Democratic presidential field have come out against it.

Democratic primary voters are nearly split on the amendment. About 38 percent want to keep the restrictions on federal abortion funding in place while 45 percent oppose them. The larger electorate wants to preserve the measure, however: 49 percent of all voters said they support it, 33 percent said they would scrap it, and about 19 percent said they have no stance on it.

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