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August 23, 2008

Biden's Abortion Record -- Pro-Choice Centrist

Below is a collection of the ratings of Joe Biden by various abortion-related groups.

Here's the bottom line: Biden is a pro-choice centrist on abortion. What does that mean? He votes consistently with the pro-choice forces on most matters, and is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade -- but he departed from pro-choice orthodoxy on two of the biggest abortion issues:

--Unlike Obama, he opposes federal funding for abortion, arguing that has pro-choice views should not be imposed on others. "I still am opposed to public funding for abortion," he said on Meet the Press in 2007. "It goes to the question of whether or not you're going to impose a view to support something that is not a guaranteed right but an affirmative action to promote."

--Unlike Obama, he voted for the ban on late term abortions.

On most other issues - stem cell research, banning abortions on military bases, etc - Biden supported the pro-choice position.

Now for the ratings:

Biden got a 60% rating from the National Abortion Right Action League in 2007 and a 36 in 2003. (NARAL's ratings for Biden are very confusing. One part of the website lists him as having a 60% rating, another part says he has a 75% rating but was absent for five of the six votes. ) In 2006 he apparently got a 100% .

The National Right to Life Committee gives him a consistent zero.

Democrats for Life gives him a 33%

In earlier years, he got lower ratings from the pro-choice groups and higher ratings from the pro life groups, for instance , he got 34% in 1997 from NARAL and a 41% from the National Right to Life Committee.

This article is cross-posted from Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.


I for one am really struggling this year on making a decision between the Republican and Democratic tickets. McCan's age and "more of the same" bothers me...Obama (and now Biden) are a fresh new choice - especially socially (the poor and middle class)but I struggle with their abortion views.

While I will vote for McCain based on his position on energy, no new tax increases, and his willing to NOT support unions who want to deny secret ballots for votes on establishing unions in businesses (which the Demos support), I struggled because some of my friends told me they wouldn't base their vote on one issue (abortion) (They wrongly accusesd me of doing so.). I wondered if I was being fair by being so dogmatic on the issue. But after reading the Rick Warren interview in the Wall Street Journal, I know that my pro life stance must remain intact. Forty million babies have been aborted and I truly believe that amounts to genocide. My vote is settled.

As far as I can tell, Biden is libertarian on the issue of abortion. Obama is pro-abortion. But McCain is pro-fetal-cell-research, which makes him also not pro-life. In addition, it seems to me that in the past he has not been pro-life. So neither candidate is acceptable on that score. But in light of unacceptability, I then have to ask, which would be more likely to change their stance in response to God? It seems to me the more humble. Looking at the religious debate "what is evil, and how would you eliminate it?" question, I have to say that McCain appears arrogant. But I'm not sure that Obama isn't just a good actor.