The Great Debate: Biden-Ryan Versus Obama on Abortion Policy
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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WASHINGTON – In recent days, the ACLU and other pro-abortion advocacy groups have been running e-mail campaigns to urge the exploration of abortion-related policy issues during the October 11 debate between Vice President Joseph Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of state right-to-life organizations, today released a resource for journalists with an interest in such issues, entitled “Biden-Ryan Versus Obama on Abortion Policy.”
In the article, veteran NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson explains that during Biden’s long career in the U.S. Senate, he voted on many key abortion-related policy issues exactly the way Congressman Ryan has voted — and opposite to the positions taken by Barack Obama as a legislator and as president.
Among the facts presented:
• In 1982, Biden voted for a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade.
• In 1986, Jeannie Rosoff, a top official of Planned Parenthood, said, “Joe Biden moans a lot and then usually votes against us.”
• Throughout his Senate career, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment. He explicitly endorsed the version of the Hyde Amendment that contained an exception only to save the life of the mother, and he explicitly opposed — and repeatedly voted against — proposals to add exceptions for rape and incest. Biden voted against attempts to add exceptions for rape and incest at least as early as 1977, and as late as 1988, which is the last time that the Senate voted directly on whether to add those exceptions. In 1994, Biden wrote, “[T]hose of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them. As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortion.” Biden’s position on federal funding of abortion is directly opposite to that advocated in the 2012 Democratic platform, and in stark contrast to the actual policy record of Obama, who has opposed every meaningful legislative measure to prevent government subsidies for abortion, and who has never repudiated his 2007 advocacy of repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
• Biden consistently voted in favor of the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, and supported unsuccessful efforts to override President Clinton’s two vetoes of the ban. Obama opposed such a ban in Illinois, and attacked the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the federal ban in 2007. Shortly after that Supreme Court decision, Obama cosponsored the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), a bill designed to nullify the federal ban on partial-birth abortions and virtually all other state and federal limits on abortion, but Senator Biden declined to cosponsor the FOCA. As early as 1990, Biden wrote that the FOCA “could result in federal preemption of state abortion regulations and laws in areas where Roe v. Wade now permits states to act, such as laws regulating second and third trimester abortions.”
After further discussion of contrasts between the Biden-Ryan record on specific abortion policy questions and the Obama positions, Johnson concludes:
The contrast between the histories of Barack Obama and Joe Biden on abortion policy issues is only one evidence among many that Obama holds positions on abortion-related issues that are far outside the mainstream of public opinion in America. However, the “mainstream” news media so far have shown an aversion in exploring the outer parameters of Obama’s positions on abortion policy, despite their prevalent eagerness to scrutinize — and often amplify and misinterpret — the positions of pro-life Republicans. Biden is probably counting on his abortion policy history falling squarely into that great big news media blind spot.
The entire article is posted here.
Founded in 1968, National Right to Life, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.