The American Civil Liberties Union has paid for full-page newspaper ads to run on Sunday that call on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to prioritize protecting abortion rights should he be elected.
The ads in the Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer ask, “Vice President Biden, will you lead on reproductive rights?”
The ACLU will also send a letter to Biden’s campaign calling on him to follow through with his commitment to end the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal money from being used to fund abortions. That makes the procedure inaccessible to many people who rely on federally funded health care. The ACLU called for Biden to act quickly to end the Hyde Amendment and other abortion restrictions.
Biden supports the right to abortion, but his record on the matter is mixed. Decades ago, Biden said the Supreme Court went “too far” in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights; he now says he would enshrine those rights into law. He supported the Hyde Amendment until last year, when he switched his position under heavy pressure from other Democratic presidential candidates and rights groups.
In May 2019, the ACLU captured Biden on video committing to end the Hyde Amendment. Now, the ACLU — which has drawn attention to abortion access through its “Rights for All” campaign — intends to hold Biden to his promise.
The Hyde Amendment disproportionately targets people of low income, banning constitutionally protected health and medical services to individuals in that group, the ACLU said.
The ACLU also called on Biden to end the Weldon Amendment, which bars governments and groups from denying funds to organizations on the basis that they do not pay for or provide abortions.
“After decades of attacks on reproductive freedom, which have accelerated during the Trump Administration, we demand leadership from the next president,” the letter said. “In the first 100 days of your presidency, you can make your priorities clear by striking the Hyde and Weldon amendments, and all abortion coverage restrictions, from your first budget and telling Congress that you won’t sign bills with abortion coverage restrictions.”
“The Time is NOW,” the group added.
The Biden campaign did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is aligned with anti-abortion groups and has taken steps to restrict funding for the procedure, among other efforts. “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump said at a March for Life rally in January in Washington.
Some Democrats have pushed to end the Hyde Amendment through Congress without success. A bill called the EACH Woman Act that would have repealed the amendment had 24 co-sponsors in the Senate and 181 co-sponsors in the House as of March 2019, when it was introduced.