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Reproductive rights have long been a hot topic of debate in the US. Between restricted abortion access amid the coronavirus pandemic, fights for birth control access and potential threats to landmark abortion legislation Roe v. Wade, this year has been a difficult one for women’s reproductive rights. With the presidential election in tow, interest in the candidates’ policies and stances on abortion have peaked.
What is Roe vs Wade?
Roe vs Wade was a landmark legislation policy which legalised abortion for women in certain states.
In 1970, Norma McCorvey was a Texas mother of two children who became pregnant with a third child.
She wanted to have an abortion, but the state’s laws denied access to the procedure unless the mother’s life was in danger, so Ms McCorvey launched a legal challenge.
She was given the name ‘Jane Roe’ to protect her identity, before later going public with her real name.
Henry Wade, the opposing Texas attorney-general, also gave his name to the case.
As the feminist movement grew in America from the 1960s, pressure grew from women’s groups to challenge abortion restrictions.
After a series of decisions and appeals, Ms McCorvey’s case reached the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the country.
The court ruled by a seven to two majority in 1973 that the law in Texas was unconstitutional.
However, this doesn’t mean that abortion is a widely available service in the US, and there are a number of states where the procedure is almost impossible to come by.
What is Joe Biden’s stance on abortion?
Joe Biden’s views and opinions on a woman’s right to choose have undoubtedly evolved over the years.
Mr Biden currently seems to be pro-choice, which means he supports abortion and the right of women to have power over their bodies.
The Democrat nominee recently said: “Reproductive rights are a constitutional right. And, in fact, every woman should have that right.”
In addition, Mr Biden said if elected, he will protect abortion rights if the Supreme Court were to strike down Roe v. Wade.
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Mr Biden vowed he would enact legislation that would make Roe v. Wade “the law of the land” if it were overturned by the court.
This prompted President Trump to lash out at Mr Biden via Twitter regarding reproductive rights, which is still one of the most divisive issues in US politics.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Biden just took a more liberal position on Roe v. Wade than Elizabeth Warren at her highest”.
He proceeded to falsely accuse the Democrat nominee of being “in favour” of late-term abortions “right up until the time of birth, and beyond”.
Mr Biden has not, however, publicly declared a position supporting late-term abortions, and has previously declared he was behind a ban on partial-birth or late-term terminations.
The nominee’s published plan states: “As president, Biden will work to codify Roe vs Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything it its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion.”
Mr Biden has also said he plans to restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organisation which provides sexual healthcare, after efforts to defund the organisation by President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.
The Democrat candidate also said he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening circumstances.
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