Democrats will require taxpayer funding of abortion, restore federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and work to overturn state-level pro-life laws under a Biden administration, according to a draft platform by the Democratic National Committee.
Democrats will adopt a new platform at their convention in Milwaukee Aug. 17-20 but released the draft platform in late July.
The draft includes much of the language from the 2016 platform, which for the first time called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a federal legislative provision that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. It took effect in 1980 and must be renewed each year. Prior to the Hyde Amendment, roughly 300,000 abortions each year were performed using taxpayer funds.
The draft supports restoration of Title X federal funds to Planned Parenthood that were pulled by the Trump administration. It also calls for federal assistance to be used to pay for abortions in other countries.
“Like the majority of Americans, Democrats believe that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion,” the draft platform says. “We will restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides vital preventive and reproductive health care for millions of women, especially low-income women and women of color, and LGBTQ+ people, including in underserved areas. Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to women’s reproductive health and rights. We will repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify Roe v. Wade.”
Although Gallup’s surveys consistently show public support for Roe, they also show support for pro-life restrictions on abortion that have been prohibited by the Supreme Court. A 2018 Gallup survey even showed that most Americans oppose abortion being legal unless the woman has a specific reason, such as her life is in danger or she was raped. A majority said they oppose legal abortion “when the woman does not want the child for any reason.”
The draft platform says Democrats oppose the so-called Mexico City Policy, which requires international organizations that receive federal funds to agree not to perform or promote abortion. Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy after taking office.
The draft also says Democrats oppose the Helms Amendment, which prohibits foreign assistance being used directly in performing abortion.
“We believe that comprehensive health services, including access to reproductive care and abortion services, are vital to the empowerment of women and girls,” the draft says. “We will support the repeal of the Mexico City Policy and measures like the Helms Amendment, which limit safe access to abortion. We will also restore and expand American contributions to the United Nations Population Fund to help guarantee access to health care for women and children around the world and eliminate child, early, and forced marriage.”
The Democratic platform has changed dramatically over the years. The 1996, 2000, and 2004 platforms said the goal of Democrats was to make abortion “rare.” That word was dropped from the platform when Barack Obama ran in 2008.
In 1976 and 1980 – with Baptist and Democrat Jimmy Carter the nominee – the platform endorsed legalized abortion but referenced the “religious and ethical” concerns “many Americans” have about abortion. That language was dropped in 1984.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Niyazz
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.