Ahead of the second round of Democratic presidential debates this week, former Vice President Joe Biden still leads the pack in polls, likely due to his reputation as a moderate. However, his health care proposal — released earlier this month — is further evidence that the extremism of his party continues to drag him leftward. While Mr. Biden stops short of calling for “Medicare for All” like most of his competitors, his plan doubles down on his recent shift to supporting forced taxpayer funding of abortion on demand.
The shadow of former President Obama and his agenda looms large over Mr. Biden’s plan. This is reason enough for concern, since Obamacare was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand since Roe v. Wade.
But where even Mr. Obama paid lip service to appeasing pro-life Democrats, Mr. Biden now explicitly promises to “protect the constitutional right to an abortion” by repealing the Hyde Amendment and forcing taxpayers to fund the destruction of 60,000 innocent unborn children each year, turning the spigot of taxpayer funding back on for abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and restarting the exportation of abortion around the globe on taxpayers’ dime that President Trump and his administration took immediate action to stop from the very beginning of his presidency.
Those who thought Julian Castro’s endorsement of abortions for biological men was over the top might be surprised to find that in Mr. Biden’s plan, too. One eerie passage faults Mr. Trump for “allow[ing] health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate based on a patient’s gender identity or abortion history” — code that Mr. Biden, who used to vote for conscience protections, will be coming after health care workers who went into their profession thinking they were called to save life, not end it, to heal and not destroy.
The most alarming and aggressive part is Mr. Biden’s pledge to weaponize the Justice Department against states to strike down popular pro-life laws — like health and safety standards for abortion facilities, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws — and stop them from passing new ones. State legislatures enacted nearly 60 pro-life laws in the first half of this year alone. Justice Department interference would be challenging, to say the least.
The abortion lobby is unlikely to be impressed. To them, Mr. Biden is a late-comer and a copycat. Kamala Harris made a very similar pitch two months ago. On Wednesday Mr. Biden will face Ms. Harris on the debate stage once again, still nursing his wounds from their last tangle. Neither one of them seems concerned about the chaos that would be created by handing over state lawmakers’ job to partisan appointees in Washington; abortion ideology comes before all else.
But Mr. Biden’s biggest obstacle is not his opponents, or federalism, or even logic and practicality. It is the overwhelming opposition of the American people. Those dozens of pro-life state laws Mr. Biden wants the Justice Department to police are the clearest expression yet of the will of the voters and their representatives. The people have already been disenfranchised enough by Roe’s nationwide imposition of abortion on demand, which settled nothing and hopefully the U.S. Supreme Court will soon reconsider. Requiring them to get yet another permission from on high to protect the unborn and run their own affairs would be outrageous.
Mr. Biden may not want to do away with private insurance — yet — but that doesn’t make him “Bernie Lite.” On abortion, he is as much an extremist as every other Democrat in this race. Does he even support the ban on barbaric partial-birth abortions anymore? Moderators and journalists should be asking him.
Mr. Biden’s devolution on the life issue is profoundly disappointing and many of us had hoped he would turn back, but no one can say he has not been warned about the political folly of pushing an agenda the American people have rejected time after time. SBA List’s polling suggests he will pay a price on Election Day for his flip-flop on taxpayer-funded abortion. The radicalism of his health plan won’t be any easier to swallow for the moderate Democrats and independent voters he desperately needs.
President Trump, in contrast, understands the will of the people and acts on it. The policies he has championed have broad, consensus support, like legislation to stop late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy when unborn children can feel pain, or to ensure that babies who survive abortions receive timely, appropriate medical care to save their lives. He deserves another term and a pro-life majority in both houses of Congress to get these things done, and SBA List will be on the ground, educating millions of voters in key battleground states through Election Day to deliver victory.
• Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.