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8 Jul, 2022 18:07

Biden dangles abortion rights for midterm votes

The US president has called for Americans to elect more pro-abortion members of Congress to restore right to terminate pregnancies
Biden dangles abortion rights for midterm votes

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to help protect access to abortion, but he said the real solution to restoring rights taken away by an “out-of-control” US Supreme Court is to elect more Democrats in Congress to help push through a national law ensuring that women and girls can terminate their pregnancies.

Americans must elect at least two additional pro-abortion senators and maintain strong support for abortion rights in the US House to ensure that Congress can pass a bill codifying the 1973 Roe v. Wade court decision as federal law, Biden said on Friday at the White House before signing his executive order. The high court last month overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling that abortion isn’t constitutionally protected and is a matter for legislators to decide.

“It is my hope and strong belief that women will in fact turn out in record numbers to reclaim the rights that have [been] taken from them by the court,” Biden said. “Let me be clear, while I wish it had not come to this, this is the fastest route available. I’m just stating a basic, fundamental notion. The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe.” 

The president blasted the Supreme Court for overturning Roe, a decision he called “terrible, extreme and totally wrong-headed.” He argued that conservative justices didn’t base their decision on legal principles.

“That wasn’t about the constitution or the law,” Biden said. “It was about a deep, long-seeded antipathy toward Roe and the broader right to privacy.”

What we’re witnessing wasn’t a constitutional judgment. It was an exercise in raw political power.

The executive order includes directing the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand access to emergency contraception and to protect access to urgent medical care. It also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to protect the privacy of people seeking information about abortion.

Biden ordered the Department of Justice to protect the rights of women to travel to states that allow abortion and to encourage volunteer lawyers to represent abortion providers. Thirteen states have already banned the procedure, and about a dozen more are expected to outlaw abortion in the next several weeks.

“We cannot allow an out-of-control Supreme Court, working in conjunction with extremist elements of the Republican Party, to take away freedoms and our personal autonomy,” the president said.

With Biden’s approval ratings at historic lows, polling suggests that Democrats will lose congressional seats in November’s midterm elections. Biden, who is banking on the abortion issue to help swing the results in favor of his party, said voters need to “protect our nation from an extremist agenda that is antithetical to everything we believe as Americans.”

“The challenge is, go out and vote,” he added. “For God’s sake, there’s an election in November. Vote, vote, vote, vote.”