Joe Biden says he does not view ‘abortion as a choice and a right’ in unearthed video

Clark Mindock

Joe Biden once said he did not believe abortion was a “choice and a right”, according to a recently unearthed interview from 2006.

Mr Biden, who has received criticism for his abortion positions as he leads a crowded and progressive 2020 primary field, made the remarks during an interview with Texas Monthly, acknowledging his stance on abortions had proved difficult as a Democrat.

“I’m a little bit of an odd man out in my party,” Mr Biden said during that interview, which was uncovered on Thursday by CNN.

He continued to note that he had voted against restrictions to abortion under Roe v Wade, but that he did not support public funding for abortions. Just last week, Mr Biden flipped his position on federal funding, and announced that he no longer supports the so-called Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion services.

At the time of the interview in 2006, Mr Biden was running for president for the second time, and said that he recognised his stance would make things difficult for him. But, the Catholic politician continued to say he did not think of the procedure as a right.

“It's going to be very difficult,” Mr Biden said. “I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it's always a tragedy, and I think that it should be rare and safe, and I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions. There ought to be able to have a common ground and consensus as to do that.”

The issue has gained prominence in recent weeks after a series of states introduced and passed highly restrictive abortion legislation, with Alabama pushing forward with legislation that would essentially ban any abortions in the state.

The laws appear to be aimed at getting abortion before the Supreme Court, with the goal of harnessing an increasingly conservative panel of judges there to overturn the landmark abortion ruling Roe v Wade, which essentially determined that abortion cannot be banned in the United States.

In the meantime, most 2020 candidates have spoken out forcefully on the issue, calling in some cases for a federal law that would protection abortion rights.

Mr Biden’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the 2006 video.