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Joe Biden. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Thursday's Democratic debate is the perfect opportunity for 2020 candidates to pick at frontrunner Joe Biden's voting history on reproductive rights.

Driving the news: If elected, Biden says he would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive-care providers for health services other than abortion. He also 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.

Biden's voting record as a senator illustrates how drastically his politics on abortion have changed.

  • In 1973, Biden, a Catholic, said the Supreme Court went "too far" in its Roe v. Wade decision. He now "firmly believes that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and should not be overturned,” his press secretary says, per NBC.
  • A year after Roe v. Wade's 1973 decision, Biden said a woman shouldn’t have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
  • He voted against a 1977 compromise that allowed Medicaid-funded abortions, with exceptions for victims of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
  • After the rape and incest exemptions passed, Biden voted in 1981 to remove them, per NBC.
  • He also voted multiple times, including in 1983, to prevent federal employees from obtaining abortion services through their health insurance.

The latest: He flipped on the Hyde Amendment this month after 2020 rivals Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke criticized him.

Context: "Only after 1988 does Gallup consistently show more Democrats than Republicans supporting access to abortion,” Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel write in their book, "Before Roe v. Wade."

Go deeper: Where the other 2020 Democrats stand on abortion policy.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.