About Joe Biden, Bill de Blasio, and the Hyde Amendment

Named after a former politician from my home state of Illinois, the late former U.S. Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL), the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding of abortions with few exceptions. The Hyde Amendment negatively affects Medicaid recipients in particular and makes it impossible for many women to be able to afford to exercise their right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

In 2016, the official national platform of the Democratic Party, which, if I recall correctly, is non-binding for Democratic candidates, explicitly supported efforts to the repeal the Hyde Amendment, which would allow for federal funding of abortions via federally-funded programs like Medicaid:

Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment. We condemn and will combat any acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.

Source, page 38 of PDF file (page 33 of platform)

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) posted a video of Joe Biden, one of two dozen candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in next year’s presidential election, telling an ACLU volunteer that he supported repealing the Hyde Amendment.

Now, Joe Biden has reversed his position and now supports the Hyde Amendment unless access to abortion protected by current U.S. Supreme Court precedent is threatened:

(Biden) Campaign aides told The Hill that the 2020 presidential hopeful still supports the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented government health programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

Biden’s campaign did say that Biden would be open to repealing the amendment if abortion access currently protected under Roe v. Wade was threatened.


Biden’s position on the Hyde Amendment is analogous to only supporting installing locks on a barn door after the horses have already left the barn, and it completely defies common sense. The Hyde Amendment effectively discriminates against women by, with few exceptions, denying affordable access to abortion for low-income women who wish to have a pregnancy terminated, and I support a complete repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

While multiple Democratic presidential candidates, including, but not limited to, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren (the author of this blog post is a Warren supporter), among others, unequivocally support repealing the Hyde Amendment, Bill de Blasio, who also supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, issued a bizarre statement about his opposition to the Hyde Amendment:

For those of you who don’t get the reference, don’t worry, because it’s a terrible one. De Blasio was referencing Dr. Henry Jekyll, a character in the Robert Louis Stevenson novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, who was actually a friend of the lead protagonist, Gabriel John Utterson. Mr. Edward Hyde was Dr. Jekyll’s antagonist alter ego. English was not my favorite subject in school, although I am familiar with the concept of protagonists and antagonists.