Senator Joe Biden: A Look at His Pro-Abortion Voting Record Through the Years

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Joe Biden: A Look at His Pro-Abortion Voting Record Through the Years

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 23
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Senator Joe Biden could have become a hero to the pro-life movement as a member of Congress. The Delaware senator came to Washington as a pro-life Catholic who believed life began at conception and that Roe v. Wade was bad law and should be overturned. Then something changed.

Biden changed his position on abortion and went along with the leftward drift of a Democratic Party that saw stalwarts like Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and others abandon a pro-life view as abortion advocates took over.

The new running mate for pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama shared the story of his evolution on abortion with the NBC program "Meet the Press" in April 2007.

"Well, I was 29 years old when I came to the US Senate, and I have learned a lot," he said. "I’m a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility."

Biden’s so-called political responsibility appears to have won out.

Though he has sided with pro-life advocates on occasion — such as supporting a ban on partial-birth abortions — Biden has compiled one of the strongest pro-abortion records in the Senate.

He received a pro-life voting record of 0 percent from the National Right to Life Committee for 2007-2008.

Though he has supported the Hyde amendment to prohibit federal funding of abortions, he supported taxpayer funding of abortions in other instances.

In February, Biden voted against an amendment to limit federal funding of abortions in the health care program for Indian Americans. He has also voted to make the U.S. military pay for and perform abortions on women in the armed services.

Biden has also voted repeatedly to overturn President Bush’s policy of prohibiting taxpayer-funding of groups that promote or perform abortions overseas.

Biden put his pro-abortion views on record by voting for a Senate resolution in March 2003 that said the chamber supports the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed for virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.

"It is the sense of the Senate that the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade was appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and such decision should not be overturned," the resolution said.

Biden also opposed the Child Custody Protection Act, a bill that would uphold the parental notification laws of a teenager’s home state and prohibit someone other than her parents from taking her to another state for a secret abortion.

Polls have showed 70 percent of Americans back such parental involvement laws on abortion, but Biden has voted numerous times against them in the Senate.

Biden was also out of step with the American public in March 2004, when he voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

That was the legislation to protect pregnant women and their unborn children — like Laci and Conner Peterson –from violence. The bill eventually became federal law and 36 states have similar laws on the books.

In August 2007, Biden voted against a measure that would have qualified unborn children for the SCHIP program that provides funds to states primarily to provide health services to children of low-income families.

While backers of the amendment hailed it as a way to provide better financial support for poor pregnant women — who often choose abortions for financial reasons — Biden refused to get on board with this minor provision.

On bioethics issues, Biden has been a thorn in the side of the pro-life movement as well, in part by repeatedly voting against a ban on human cloning.

Biden has also repeatedly voted to force Americans to pay for embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life and has never helped a single patient.


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