Biden Explains Flip on Abortion, Deals with Heckler at Ottumwa Rally

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- Former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate from Delaware, told Channel 13 that restrictions to abortions occurring at states across the country compelled him to change his long-held support of the federal Hyde Amendment that prohibited taxpayer dollars for most abortions. 

"It's a legitimate criticism for them to look at," Biden said of activists who are concerned that Biden changed his position for political gain.

As recently as last Wednesday, Biden's campaign reaffirmed his position for the Hyde Amendment. But following a backlash from other presidential candidates and activists, Biden changed his position the next day and said that he now opposes the amendment.

Biden said the switch doesn't benefit him politically because most Americans support the amendment. "So the idea that this would be helpful to change is not accurate to be able to win an election," he explained.

That could be true in the general election. But in the primary election, Biden's new position could bring him into line with more Democratic activists. 

Biden said since some states are working to further reduce women's access to abortions and he realized the Hyde Amendment would leave some women no ability to have an abortion.

During his rally, Tim Stocking from Memphis, Tennessee, interrupted Biden by shouting, "What are you going to do about killing babies?"

Biden said that he would talk to the man after the event to address his comments. The Des Moines Register reported that the two men did meet. 

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