President Biden said the GOP is in for a world of hurt in the 2024 election cycle, betting that women and angry voters are set to punish Republicans over restrictions on abortion that flowed from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the broad right to abortion one year ago.
Mr. Biden said Friday that voters punished Republicans over the restrictions in the midterm elections, and are gearing up to do it again.
At the same time, Mr. Biden warned that Republicans are gearing up for new restrictions on abortion.
In full campaign mode, Mr. Biden vowed to veto any national restrictions on abortion if Congress manages to pass them while he is president. He also warned that conservatives and court allies will push beyond abortion, targeting things like contraception or the decision that allowed same-sex marriage nationwide.
“They’re not stopping here. This election is about freedom on the ballot,” Mr. Biden told a supportive crowd at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
Major groups that support abortion access, including EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, on Friday said they endorsed Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris for reelection. Representatives from the groups decried the 20 states that have banned or severely restricted abortion since the Supreme Court’s decision last year.
Vice President Kamala Harris said they were honored to accept the endorsement for “four more years” in office, prompting chants of approval. She said Republican rivals will regret proposing a national ban on abortion.
“The people in America will not accept that,” she said.
Ms. Harris plans to give a major speech about abortion access in North Carolina on Saturday, the actual anniversary of the Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022.
The ruling outraged Mr. Biden and his Democratic allies, but they’ve used the decision as a political weapon against Republicans, saying Americans generally don’t agree with strict limits on abortion and the GOP is alienating young and female voters.
The Associated Press estimates that more than 25 million women ages 15 to 44 — or about 2 in 5 nationally — live in states that have more restrictions on abortion than before Dobbs. More than 5.5 million live in states with new restrictions that were placed on hold pending court challenges.
A Gallup Poll released earlier this month found 61% of Americans think the high court’s decision last year to overturn federally protected abortion and return the matter to the states was “a bad thing.”
The poll also found the percentage of Americans who want abortion banned in all circumstances has dwindled to 13%, while a record-high 69% say abortion should be legal in the first trimester.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the crowd to pressure at least seven House Republicans from districts that Mr. Biden won in 2020 to sign a discharge petition so that Democrats can force a vote on codifying abortion rights.
“We need not ‘agonizing’ but ‘organizing,’” said Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat.
The Republican National Committee said Democrats are out of step with the public in pushing abortion-on-demand policies and should be ready to approve reasonable limits on the procedure.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats’ extreme late-term abortion agenda is completely out of touch with Americans. Democrats are pushing a zero-restrictions agenda that allows abortion up to the point of birth, which puts us in a global category alongside countries like China and North Korea,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Republicans must go on offense on this issue, expose their Democrat opponents’ extremism, and continue to fight for commonsense pro-life protections that we know Americans firmly support.”
Leading GOP candidates, meanwhile, used the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Washington to align themselves with pro-life policies.
“Thank God Almighty for the Dobbs decision,” Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, told the conference. “We are creating a culture of life in America, and that’s a really good thing.”
Ahead of Friday’s event, Mr. Biden signed an executive order instructing agencies to find ways to expand access to contraception.
“Contraception is an essential component of reproductive health care that has only become more important in the wake of Dobbs and the ensuing crisis in women’s access to health care,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
The order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to draft guidance that expands the range of contraceptives approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration that must be covered without out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act guaranteed no-cost coverage but insurers must cover one product per category of contraceptive instead of a full range.
The order tasks HHS and the Treasury and Labor departments with finding ways to expand access to over-the-counter contraception, including emergency contraceptives such as Plan B, without a prescription. Also, HHS must consider new family-planning services under Medicaid and ways to strengthen contraception coverage under Medicare Part D plans, notably for women of reproductive age with disabilities.
The order calls for expanded coverage for veterans, college students and people who rely on Title X family planning clinics.
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