President Joe Biden recently called on lawmakers to protect the rights of parents to abort their unborn children after news broke that the U.S. Supreme Court might be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.
According to The Daily Wire, Biden’s call to Democrats is in stark contrast to some of his previous work in the United States Senate when he supported a constitutional amendment that would have allowed individual states to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
The project, backed by Biden, was part of the “Hatch Amendment,” which was named after its author, the late Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
The amendment stated:
A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution. The Congress and the several States shall have the concurrent power to restrict and prohibit abortions: Provided, That a law of a State which is more restrictive than a law of Congress shall govern.
According to The Daily Wire, the amendment was up for consideration in late 1981, and passed through the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution 4–0.
Hatch and his fellow subcommittee menders, including Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond, and Arizona Democratic Senator Dennis DeConcini, all voted to approve the amendment.
Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy abstained from voting, but the amendment was then handed to the full Judiciary Committee, where it passed on March 10, 1982, by a vote of 10–7.
In the end, eight Republicans and two Democrats voted for the amendment; the two Democrats were DeConcini, who voted for it in the subcommittee, and Biden.
“I’m probably a victim, or a product, however you want to phrase it, of my background,” Biden said of the vote.
Then-Senator Biden added that he was not sure he had a “right to impose” his personal moral and religious views on others and that the vote was “the single most difficult vote I’ve cast as a U.S. senator.”
The amendment went to the full Senate in June but was never brought into consideration, and eventually withdrawn on September 15, however, a similar measure was brought to the Senate in 1983, and Biden voted against it.
When Roe was became the law of the land in 1973, Biden was in his first term in the Senate and said he believed that the Supreme Court went “too far” with it’s decision, and at one point told Catholic magazine America: “I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”