Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday defended his past votes for legislation containing a provision prohibiting federal funding for most abortions, while reiterating his support for abortion rights.
Sanders was asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” about his support for bills containing the Hyde Amendment, which bans using Medicaid funds for abortions unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy arises from rape or incest.
“Well, look, sometimes in a large bill you have to vote for things you don’t like,” Sanders said. “But I think my record as being literally 100 percent ‘pro-choice’ is absolutely correct.”
He went on to emphasize his support for abortion rights.
“If you believe, as I do, that a woman’s right to control her own body is a constitutional right, then that must apply to all women, including low-income women,” Sanders said.
He added he will “never, never nominate somebody to the Supreme Court who is not 100 percent defending Roe v. Wade,” the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing women’s right to have an abortion.
Democratic presidential contenders’ stances on the Hyde Amendment have been under scrutiny since former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said Biden supported the provision. But after criticism from abortions rights groups and other candidates, Biden quickly reversed himself, saying a Republican “assault” on abortion rights had compelled him to change his mind.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, another Democratic presidential contender, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that she didn’t agree with Biden’s former position and was glad he had changed it.
Both Sanders and Klobuchar are co-sponsors of a bill that would repeal the Hyde Amendment. Fellow Democratic candidates Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey have also signed on in support.
Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill would cover abortions, the bill’s authors confirmed.