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Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden’s Records and Plans on Reproductive Freedom


Donald Trump poses a major threat to our ability to decide if, when, and how to raise a family and he’s taken every step possible to gut access to abortion and roll back reproductive rights, using executive action to enact his radical anti-choice agenda, appointing unqualified right-wing judges, and spreading dangerous disinformation about abortion to gin up his base. Reproductive freedom is on the ballot in 2020 and it’s imperative that Donald Trump does not win re-election.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the two remaining contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, referenced their votes on reproductive freedom in Congress and scores awarded by NARAL Pro-Choice America in the March 15, 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate. 

Both candidates have committed to upholding reproductive freedom as president, including codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law, ending the Hyde Amendment, and reversing both the domestic gag rule and the global gag rule.

Where elected officials fall short of NARAL’s standards, we always encourage and support them to improve and evolve on reproductive freedom. Evolution is a positive thing and we will applaud elected officials when they move in the right direction and make their commitment to reproductive rights clear. And while evolution on policies is important, the stakes are too high to stop there. 

Below are the scores from NARAL’s annual Congressional Record on Choice of Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former-Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders was a member of the House of Representatives from 1991-2006 and has been a Senator since 2007. Biden was a senator from 1973-2008. [Note: Biden and Sanders only took the same votes from 2001-2008.]

NARAL began scoring votes related to reproductive freedom in 1977, and began awarding total annual scores in 1990. NARAL does not award a “lifetime” rating on reproductive freedom votes, but gives annual scores based on the votes that occur each year in each chamber. The votes we score are dependent on what comes to the House and Senate floors, which is why the score for a given year could reflect just one or many votes, and could cover a range of issues related to reproductive health, rights, and justice.

* Prior to 1990, NARAL scored individual votes but didn’t provide an annual total score. We provided scores of 0 or 100 where all Biden’s votes were anti-choice or pro-choice respectively; the asterisk denotes years where Biden had a mixed record of pro- and anti-choice votes and/or was absent. 

Citation: NARAL Pro-Choice America Congressional Record on Choice, 1977-2019

Last edited: March 17, 2020

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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