Democratic frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden spent much of this past week explaining his long support of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion, while at the same time indicating he now opposes it, a position Fox News asserts has “toasted” his chances at winning the Democratic nomination.

Fox co-host of “The Five,” Greg Gutfeld, said he thinks Biden’s latest “hiccup” may push him “out the door” in the 2020 race for the White House.

“I think he is actually toast,” Gutfeld said. “The more people see of him the less they like him,”  he added.

The Hyde Amendment, named for former Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion procedures, except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger. The only time federal funds likely would be used for abortions is in cases where the woman receives aid, such as Medicaid, or other benefit programs, signaling those most affected by the legislation are likely low income or disabled, and unable to seek medical care outside of federal programs.

On Wednesday, NBC News reported Biden’s senate voting record included repeated examples of his rejecting exceptions for victims of rape and incest. In 1977, the Delaware senator voted against a compromise that included exceptions for victims of rape and incest, as well as concerns for the life of the mother. Again, in 1981, he voted to remove the exceptions, which passed in spite of his 1977 vote.

A devout Roman Catholic, Biden also voted in 1983 to prohibit federal workers from using health insurance on abortion procedures, with the only exception being to save the mother.

The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, was the first challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision finding abortion to be a private decision between a woman, her family, and doctor, and not a matter for public scrutiny. Prior to the Hyde Amendment, an estimated 300,000 abortions were performed annually using federal funds, according to a 2009 National Public Radio report.

 

 

Apart from the NBC News report, Biden’s senior campaign staff confronted him, explaining how his stance disproportionately affected poor women of color. The campaign has since tried to paint Biden’s pivot as consistent with changing positions based on principle. In a prepared statement, Biden’s press secretary, TJ Ducklo said, “Vice President Biden’s honesty and candor are big reasons why his candidacy is resonating all across the country. Voters respond to his authenticity, and want a president with values that are nothing like the current occupant of the White House.”

An article in The Atlantic on Friday pointed out changing positions on core issues is a difficult transition to pull off. Several previous candidates, including Democrats John Kerry and Hilary Clinton, and Republican Mitt Romney took substantial political hits when waffling on positions.

The Hyde debate is one of nuance and a subset of the larger national abortion rights issue percolating in a number of states across the nation, The Atlantic article contended.