Biden drops support for Hyde amendment restricting abortion funding after criticism

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By Mike Memoli  with NBC News Politics
Image: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice Presiden
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 18, 2019.   -   Copyright  Mark Makela Reuters file

ATLANTA — Joe Biden said Thursday that he can no longer support federal restrictions on funding for abortion services, an abrupt reversal from his longstanding support for the Hyde Amendment after coming under criticism this week.

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee gala in Atlanta, the former vice president said that in an environment where Republican-led states "are denying the poorest and vulnerable Americans" from access to an abortion, he could no longer support such an amendment.

NBC News reported Wednesday that the former vice president still supported the amendment, touching of criticism from many of the other 2020 Democratic contenders.

Just a day earlier, the Biden campaign had reaffirmed Biden's support for the Hyde Amendment. That prompted the first sustained response by Biden's 2020 rivals since he announced his candidacy in April.

Earlier Thursday at another DNC event in Atlanta, Cory Booker called Hyde "a direct assault at the black and brown communities like the ones I've been representing for most of my political career."

This is a developing story; check back for updates.