All Democratic presidential candidates back taxpayer-funded abortions

Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), arrive on stage before the start of the Democratic Presidential Debate at Tyler Perry Studios November 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Every Democratic presidential candidate that remains in the race is now on record saying they support taxpayer-funded abortion at the federal level.

In a New York Times survey, the results of which were released Monday, the newspaper reached out to every Democratic candidate for president about their views on abortion, and published their responses to a set of questions about specific policies.

All but five of them completed a survey where they were asked to elaborate further on their views. For those who did not respond, the paper determined their stances on the issue from other publicly available sources, such as interviews, debates and forums, and the candidate's published plans.

All of the candidates are now on record saying "Yes" when asked if they would "codify Roe v. Wade" and "repeal the Hyde amendment," the legislative provision first instituted in 1976 that forbids the use of federal funds through Medicaid or other government entities to pay for abortions. For decades the amendment had notable bipartisan support.

Every candidate surveyed said they would preserve government funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.

Nearly all also responded affirmatively that they would “ban abstinence-only sex education.” A majority said they would force private insurers to cover abortions as part of their plans.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., went so far as to say that he would create a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom "charged with coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care across my administration."

Asked to respond to whether abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," — a phrase that was first used by former President Bill Clinton and affirmed by other Democrats — he said: "I believe that abortion is health care."

Other candidates readily noted abortion should be safe and legal, but did not say one way or the other about whether it should be rare.

Candidates were also asked about whether they would repeal a 1973 provision passed by the U.S. Congress in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, called the Helms amendment, limiting the use of U.S. foreign assistance dollars for abortion. Most have said they are in favor of scrapping it. Former Vice President Joe Biden gave no answer on that question and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's, D-Hawaii, position was noted as unclear.

Gabbard's position was also unclear on what is called the "global gag rule" which is known as The Mexico City policy — reinstituted and expanded under President Donald Trump — which blocks federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals overseas. All the other candidates supported scrapping it.

The survey formally marks the considerable shift in posture toward the abortion issue in the U.S., further entrenching the approach Democrats took in 2016, as fewer and fewer pro-life members of the Democratic Party remain visible, and tolerance for dissenting views on the issue disappear.

At present, the Democratic candidates who are still in the 2020 race for presidency include: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; former vice president Joe Biden; Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak; businessman and philanthropist Tom Steyer; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; author Marianne Williamson; and entrepreneur and attorney Andrew Yang.

Earlier this month, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg both entered the race. Both men have records in favor of abortion rights.

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