“Folks, times have changed,” he said. “I don’t think these guys are going to let up.”
The Hyde Amendment, named for former Representative Henry Hyde, a Republican from Illinois, was first passed in 1976 and is renewed every year, with occasional changes to the list of exceptions. It bans federal funding of abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, and it affects Medicaid funding of abortion, leading critics to argue that the measure puts a disproportionate burden on poor women and women of color.
Mr. Biden’s appearance on Thursday was part of a Democratic Party gathering in Atlanta that also drew three of Mr. Biden’s opponents: Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas. A speech by Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor last year — who had been discussed by some as a potential running mate for Mr. Biden, though both camps have disputed talk of a joint ticket — capped the evening.
In her remarks, Ms. Abrams, who delivered an impassioned call for protecting voter rights, also warned against allowing the primary contest to turn too bitter.
“If we are so divided by our primary that we can’t beat our adversary, then we are lost for a generation,” said Ms. Abrams, who has not closed the door on the possibility of her own presidential bid.
Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights group Naral Pro-Choice America, said Thursday that she was glad to see that Mr. Biden had changed his position.
“At a time where the fundamental freedoms enshrined in Roe are under attack, we need full-throated allies in our leaders,” she said. “We’re pleased that Joe Biden has joined the rest of the 2020 Democratic field in coalescing around the Party’s core values — support for abortion rights, and the basic truth that reproductive freedom is fundamental to the pursuit of equality and economic security in this country.”