'Deeply compassionate': NARAL president praises Biden's leftward shift on abortion

Ilyse Hogue
NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 27, 2016. |

The president of one of the largest pro-abortion advocacy groups in the United States has praised presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his “deeply compassionate” evolution on the issue of abortion. 

In an interview with McClatchy DC this week, Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, explained why she can give her “full-throated” support as her organization is endorsing of the former vice president whose campaign was viewed skeptically by some abortion-rights supporters during the Democratic primary. 

“We’ve had awesome and robust conversations with the campaign,” Hogue was quoted as saying. “I think, collectively, we’re clear-eyed about the work that needs to be done.”

Biden made headlines last year by reversing his support for the Hyde Amendment, a federal measure in place since 1976 that bans the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. Hogue said Biden’s evolution on the issue is evidence of his “deeply compassionate” character and willingness to listen to advocates. She stated that Biden’s agenda has evolved.

In addition to changing his position on the Hyde Amendment, Biden has pledged to codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which ruled that women have the right to an abortion without excessive government restrictions. 

Biden also pledged in February to have an abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees as president.  

One month before he received NARAL’s endorsement, another pro-abortion advocacy group, the political fundraising arm of Planned Parenthood, also came out in full support of Biden

Both groups have pledged to spend millions in the upcoming general election to influence voters.

NARAL plans to spend nearly $35 million, while Planned Parenthood announced its intention to spend $45 million, tripling the amount it spent in support of Democrats in the 2016 election. 

The interview with McClatchy DC is hardly the first time Hogue has used the word “compassionate” concerning the topic of abortion. 

As a speaker at the Democratic National Convention four years ago, Hogue used the phrase “compassionate care” when talking about an abortion that she had “years ago.”

Hogue described President Donald Trump as “the manifestation of a long-term movement of which the anti-choice movement was really instrumental.” 

Hogue has strongly criticized Trump and his administration’s policies since taking office in 2016. In January, she took issue with his decision to speak to “anti-choicers” gathered at the 2020 March for Life in Washington D.C.

Trump became the first president to speak in-person at the annual gathering of thousands of pro-lifers from across the nation. 

Enthusiasm and investment in the 2020 presidential election are not limited to pro-abortion groups. 

Susan B. Anthony List, a leading national pro-life lobbying organization, announced earlier this year that it will spend $52 million to help re-elect Donald Trump and “safeguard” the pro-life majority in Congress.

The abortion debate has intensified during the Trump administration as a series of states have passed laws addressing the hot-button issue. In 2019, several states passed laws banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 

That same year, the state of New York passed a law allowing abortions to take place up until the moment of birth and removing the procedure from the state’s penal code.

The abortion debate has also made it to the judicial branch, as the aforementioned pro-life laws have been met with legal challenges from pro-abortion activists. 

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a Louisiana law that “required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the procedure.”

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