Biden expected to use budget to strengthen abortion rights bona fides

“Biden is the leader of the party. He needs to send the message that he supports abortion rights, ”said Destiny Lopez of the abortion rights group All * Above All, which met with Biden’s team during the transition and since then Taking office. “It starts with the government being ready to talk about this issue or even say the word ‘abortion’.”

However, such a move in Friday’s budget would be largely symbolic as the change in policy is almost certainly not going to clarify the 50:50 Senate. And yet Biden could use the moment to demonstrate his transformation from one of the Democratic Parties loudest against abortion Legislator to one of its most progressive presidents.

Biden noted that he followed his party’s move to the left at a candidate forum hosted by Planned Parenthood in 2019 where he promised he should be elected, He would make sure that “poor women have full coverage”. for abortion.

“There’s no rationale that if you fall under the federal system you can’t use federal funds to get reproductive health care,” he told the South Carolina audience.

A White House official told POLITICO that “nothing has changed” since then, but would not say what Biden would do if Congress eventually included funding constraints on its spending bills.

Democrats, who control Congressional discretionary spending, aren’t waiting for the White House to act, and have already quietly begun drafting a plan that will drop the Hyde Amendment and Medicaid, Medicare, federal employee health insurance, and India’s Health service covers abortions.

Democratic lawmakers withdrawn from an election– –Year fight on the Hyde amendment last year on the grounds that it was pointless to induce the members of the House of Representatives to vote in a politically risky manner, with the repeal effort that will certainly die in the group controlled by the GOP at the time Senate or at one stroke the then President Donald Trump’s veto pen.

MEP Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Who took the hammer on the funds in January, said “now is the time” to push through, given the slim majority of Senate Democrats and support from Biden.

Even so, the effort will likely still fail.

Enough centrist Senate Democrats refuse to drop the Hyde amendment to end the push in the evenly divided upper chamber.

“I’m where I’ve always been in Hyde: I support it,” Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) Told POLITICO. “I think there is a lot of disagreement across the country on this issue, and we have now made a decision for generations that those who do not support abortion should not use their taxpayers’ money on it.”

Casey, Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Voted to apply Hyde bans to the $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid bill approved in March – a move that Prohibition of abortion coverage to the private insurance market would have expanded, but that fell short of the 60 votes required for adoption. Though all three still voted for the final package, Manchin told the then National Review, “We should have the Hyde Amendment. I have always supported the Hyde change. “

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Funds Committee that oversees health spending, is currently speaking with colleagues to build support not only for removing the ban on abortion funding in the upcoming budget, but also for passing a law on it Remove the problem altogether from the annual budget hassle.

“Especially if a Conservative Supreme Court accepts a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, we must do everything we can to stand up for reproductive health care,” she said in a statement to POLITICO. That month’s judges agreed to review Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of gestation. This is a sign that the Conservative Majority of the 6-3 Court may be ready to restrict the right to abortion.

But even the most determined advocates of the Chamber’s abortion rights admit that it will be an uphill battle.

“This is one of those things that is difficult to change people’s minds about,” Sen said. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). “I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

A majority of the public opposes federal funding of abortions, even if they support the right to abortion in most cases – although the survey may fluctuate based on the wording of the question. However, the democratic base has shifted to the left in recent years, and Biden’s reversal of his longstanding support for Hyde in 2019 helped him with Democratic primary voters, a poll by Morning Consult / POLITICO found.

Such trend lines encourage progressives to step up pressure on Biden to support his campaign talk and warn that if the Democrats maintain the Hyde language, they will face an electoral reaction.

“A clean budget from you will send a signal to Congress that you agree that bans and restrictions on abortion coverage are harmful and unnecessary and should be removed,” said nearly two dozen progressive lawmakers wrote to Biden. “This will send a strong message to Congress, the country, and the world that everyone can choose when and how to raise a family, regardless of how much money they make, what type of insurance they have, or where they live. ”

Proponents of abortion rights have rephrased the debate in recent years as a matter of racial and economic justice, arguing that the drivers of the anti-abortion budget created a two-tier system in which people can jump through the tires with funds in favor of an abortion and payment are required for this either out of pocket or with private insurance. This leaves the poor, who depend on Medicaid and cannot travel across state lines, handicapped.

“For many communities in the country, especially black and brown communities, Roe was not a reality,” said Lopez of All *, referring to the Supreme Court ruling that established the legal right to abortion. “We need to make the right to abortion a reality by making sure that there are clinics in our communities and that insurance can cover this and that there is no shame or stigma.”

But Republican appropriators are counteracting this Repeal of the Hyde amendment would sow division and undermine Biden’s promise to bring the country together.

Dozens of anti-abortion organizations, led by Susan B. Anthony List, also got into the fray ahead of the budget’s release, and met Biden for changing his stance on federal funding for abortion after decades of opposition and as a senator had warned lawmakers not to drop the abortion restrictions according to a letter received from POLITICO.

“We are deeply concerned that if the Biden administration and the Abortion Democrats have their way, these longstanding, bipartisan consensus changes will soon fade out of the window,” said Mallory Quigley, spokesman for SBA List.

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