President Joe Biden immediately registered his strong disapproval of the content of a leaked draft copy of an impending Supreme Court decision that indicated an intent to overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent set in 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide.
However, that has not always been the position held by Biden, as he had previously denounced that consequential ruling and had even voted in favor of legislation that would have countered the decision, the New York Post reported.
Biden decries imminent overruling of abortion precedent
Following the leaked draft opinion Monday night, President Biden issued a statement Tuesday morning denouncing it and said, “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
Later that day, in remarks to reporters, the president said that “it concerns me a great deal that we’re going to, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have a right to choose.”
He went on to speculate about the court’s rationale being applied to other cases of unenumerated rights and expressed his support for Congress passing a law to codify abortion rights at the federal level.
Supreme Court “went too far” with Roe v. Wade decision
But as the Post noted, Biden’s expressed position now is virtually opposite of what it was 40 to 50 years ago when he was a young Democratic senator from Delaware.
In fact, in a lengthy 1974 profile piece of Biden by the Washingtonian, he specifically eschewed the label of “liberal” and professed himself to be “really quite conservative” on most issues, with abortion being at the top of the list.
“I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion,” he said of the Roe v. Wade ruling issued one year earlier. “I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
Voted for a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade
Fast-forward eight years to 1982, when The New York Times reported on a constitutional amendment introduced by then-Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) declared that abortion was not a constitutional right and would have allowed states to impose strict regulations or even outright bans on the practice.
Biden was one of only two Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote alongside Republicans to advance that measure to the Senate floor, according to The Times.
The Delaware senator had said at the time that it had been a rather difficult decision for him to make, as his Roman Catholic faith instructed him to oppose abortion but he also didn’t feel he had a “right to impose” his religious views on others — though he had ultimately supported the anti-abortion measure.
Of course, people’s opinions and political views can change over time, and that is fine, but keep Biden’s prior position on the topic in mind when he inevitably seeks to claim in the near future that he has always been supportive of abortion rights from the start, which simply isn’t true.