Biden urges Americans to vote for Democrats to ‘codify Roe’
President Joe Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre on Oct. 18, 2022, in Washington, D.C. With three weeks until Election Day, in his remarks Biden highlighted issues pertaining to women’s reproductive health and promised to codify access to abortion. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 18, 2022 / 16:00 pm
President Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to codify Roe v. Wade into law should Democrats win the midterm elections in November.
Biden’s rallying cry for abortion ahead of Election Day comes as new polling shows Democratic candidates facing uphill battles in races across the country for the House, Senate, and governorships.
“Here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” Biden declared in a speech at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) event held at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.
“And when Congress passes it I will sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land,” he added.
In his speech, Biden called the 2022 midterms “the most consequential election in history.”
Flanked by pro-abortion activists and women holding signs saying “Defend Choice” and “Restore Roe,” Biden, a Catholic, urged Americans to vote Democrat at the polls in November if they want to cement Roe into law.
“We’re short a handful of votes. If you care about the right to choose, you gotta vote,” he urged. “Vote, vote, vote!”
Democrats currently control the House with 220 seats to Republicans’ 211, meaning a shift of just five seats would transfer power to the GOP. Democrats also hold the Senate by a thin margin with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, for an edge of 51-50.
All 435 seats are up for election in the House and 35 seats in the Senate in November. There are also 36 governorships up for election.
Condemning Republicans as “extremists,” the president threatened that if the GOP took back Congress in November, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy would move to pass a nationwide abortion ban.
“If such a bill were to pass in the next couple of years, I’ll veto it,” Biden whispered loudly into the microphone.
Biden’s abortion push comes on the heels of recent polling showing that public support for Biden and other Democrats is lagging.
Biden’s popularity is at a record all-time low — 57% — according to a new poll conducted by The New York Times, showing that former President Donald Trump has risen above him in approval ratings.
Many Democrats are betting abortion will be an effective campaign issue for them.
But polling has shown that voters across all demographics are more concerned with the state of the economy. A recent Kaiser poll reported that although the Dobbs ruling has motivated women and other key populations to vote Democrat in November, 74% of registered voters cited inflation and gas prices as “very important” to their midterm vote compared with only 55% who cited abortion access as a top concern.
Biden attacks pro-life trigger laws
Earlier in the speech, the president recalled the day the Dobbs v. Jackson decision was handed down, returning the question of abortion to the states.
“Women all across the country, starting in my house, lost a fundamental right,” he said, calling the following months “chaos and heartbreak.”
Biden claimed that numerous state pro-life trigger laws that went into effect after Dobbs have prevented “26.5 million women” from receiving treatment for miscarriages and other medical procedures.
“Today in America, there are women who have been turned away from emergency rooms while having miscarriages, losing wanted pregnancies, and told they need to wait until they are sicker before they get the care they need,” he said.
“Doctors and nurses fear they can face criminal charges,” he continued, adding that patients have been denied prescriptions for arthritis conditions because pharmacies fear “those drugs could also be used to terminate a pregnancy.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for documented evidence of these instances.
As the pro-life group Live Action has reported, all state abortion bans have explicitly ensured that treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies remains legal.
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Arkansas’ abortion ban, for example, states that no act should be considered an abortion if it is carried out to “preserve the health of the unborn child,” “remove a dead unborn child caused by a spontaneous abortion [miscarriage],” or to “remove an ectopic pregnancy.”
Biden also said that Roe served as a foundation for other rights, including “the right to birth control” and the “right to marry who you love.”
Biden called the Dobbs decision a “risk” to the “broader right to privacy,” condemning Justice Clarence Thomas for suggesting in his concurring opinion that the court should reconsider all “substantive due process” cases, including the 2015 Obergefell decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
Edie Heipel is the Political Correspondent for CNA's Washington, D.C. bureau. She previously worked in communications for Center for Renewing America, served in the Trump White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and has been a contributor to various outlets including The Federalist and The Charlotte Lozier Institute. She is a graduate of Wheaton College.
President Joe Biden and the U.S. bishops’ pro-life chair each have marked 100 days since the overturning of Roe v. Wade: one by advocating for abortion, the other by celebrating the intrinsic worth of every human person.