Biden now supports using federal money for abortion

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ATLANTA (AP) -- After two days of intense criticism, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has reversed course and declared that he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal health care money to pay for abortions.

Biden's reversal came after rivals and women's rights groups blasted him for affirming through his campaign aides that he still supported the Hyde Amendment.

With the shift announced Thursday, Biden could limit any damage from women's groups and progressives who already are skeptical about whether a 76-year-old white man who leans centrist can be the party standard-bearer in 2020. Yet it also marks a change from years spent trying to hold what he described as a "middle ground" on abortion.