Former Vice President Joe Biden has been incredibly disappointing when it comes to repealing the Hyde Amendment, the 1977 law that bars the government from funding abortions through Medicaid or organizations like Planned Parenthood. Biden voted for the amendment when it originally passed, and today he still won’t commit to overturning it.
Contrast Biden’s milquetoast bullshit with this brief clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaking at an MSNBC town hall last night. Warren flatly said she thought Biden was wrong. But better yet, she said why.
“Under the Hyde Amendment, under every one of these efforts to try to chip away, or to push back, or to get rid of Roe v. Wade... understand this: women of means will still have access to abortions,” Warren said. “Who won’t, will be poor women, will be working women, will be women who can’t afford to take off three days of work, will be very young women, will be women who’ve been raped, will be women who have been molested by someone in their own family.”
“We do not pass laws that take away that freedom from the women who are the most vulnerable,” she concluded.
In this short, direct response, Warren beautifully drew the line between economic oppression, misogyny, and reproductive justice. Rich women are not those in danger of having their abortion rights taken away, nor those who need help paying for their abortion. To deny government funding for abortions is to say that the very women who need help aren’t allowed to have it. Abortion becomes a privilege that’s only accessible to the rich, even if it stays legal.
Warren is right on here, and her emotional delivery underscored the conviction behind her words. She said earlier in the clip that she remembered a time when abortion was illegal in the U.S., and the devastating consequences when women got abortions anyway. While Biden scrambles to piece together a calculated position on reproductive justice, Warren spoke from her own experience—both that of a woman, and a progressive who understands the dire impacts of inequality.