Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden abruptly changed his 40-year support for the Hyde Amendment. Passed in 1976, Hyde bars using federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Popularly supported by 57% of voters, it’s vehemently opposed by Planned Parenthood and therefore by almost all Democratic politicians who are routinely “primaried” out of office if they support pro-life legislation.
Biden routinely proclaims his Catholicity and supported Hyde in 1976 when it was first passed, even supporting an amendment in 1981 to constitutionally overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. In 1993, he again voted for Hyde and supported bans on partial birth abortions in 1995 and 1997. Running for president in 2007, Biden explained: “I’m opposed to public funding of abortion and the reason I am is it goes to the question of whether or not you are going to impose a view to support something that is not a guaranteed right …”
He reaffirmed his support in 2010 to help President Obama secure the votes needed to pass Obamacare into law. It would have failed without Hyde promises to a few pro-life Democrats to ensure Obamacare did not fund abortions.
In the 2012 vice presidential election debates, Biden was outspoken about faith playing a big role in his beliefs: “With regard to abortion, I accept my (Catholic) church’s position on abortion as a what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception, that’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.”
But last week, within a 48-hour timeframe, Biden first affirmed his Hyde beliefs and then abandoned his decades-old positions and Catholic beliefs. Running for his party’s presidential nomination, he obviously feels he won’t win without now declaiming Hyde and appeasing Planned Parenthood and vocal abortion feminists.
Kansas has its own parallels. Three weeks ago, after nearly two years of “deliberation,” the Kansas Supreme Court “found” a right to abortion “hidden” in the Kansas Constitution. Given past Kansas abortionist and ACLU penchants for lawsuits, that puts all Kansas “life” legislation at risk of being overturned through court actions.
The only remedy is a constitutional amendment process to have Kansas citizens express their opinion in a statewide vote. This will first require 75% of both the state Senate and House to pass legislation to put it on the ballot. All four Leavenworth County Republican legislators (Braun, French, Dove and Karleskint) have already committed to voting for putting a right to life amendment before the people in a vote. Democrat Sen. Holland and Rep. Jeff Pittman have not yet publicly commented on their positions but Holland routinely votes with the abortion lobby. Rep. Pittman is Catholic and previously self-proclaimed pro-life. Pittman had his own Biden moment this spring, first voting for educating women of a possible abortion pill reversal procedure and then changing his mind when his vote would be determinative in overturning Gov. Kelly’s veto. Perhaps he can re-establish his pro-life credentials by co-sponsoring the amendment to put it before the people. Call and encourage him and Sen. Holland today and through the next legislative session.
Greg Beck is a Leavenworth Times columnist.