Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden:
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked as we headed toward the Capitol corridors.
“Well, I will not vote to overturn the Court’s decision. I will not vote to curtail a woman’s right to choose abortion. But I will also not vote to use federal funds to fund abortion.”
“That’s a tough position, kid,” he said on the escalator.
“Yeah, everybody will be upset with me,” I told him, “except me. But I’m intellectually and morally comfortable with my position.”
Even before I finished talking, he got a big grin on his face. “Can I give you a piece of advice?” he said. “Pick a side. You’ll be much better off politically. Just pick a side.”
Ribicoff was right, of course. It was good advice in 1973, and it’s good advice today. The old bad joke—Why aren’t there many politicians in the middle of the road? Because that’s where the roadkill is—is still operable. I’ve stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than thirty years. I still vote against partial birth abortion and federal funding, and I’d like to find ways to make it easier for scared young mothers to choose not to have an abortion, but I will also vote against a constitutional amendment that strips a woman of her right to make her own choice. That position has earned me the distrust of some women’s groups and the outright enmity of the Right to Life groups.