With momentum shifting away from his party in the critical final days before the midterm elections, Joe Biden is desperately trying to drive turnout by doubling down on extreme abortion politics.
Confirming the suspicions of many, Biden pledged in a speech Tuesday to make legalizing abortion nationwide his first priority if Democrats hold onto Congress.
Biden makes radical abortion pledge
Speaking at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C., Biden sought to rile up supporters by warning that Republicans want to impose “extreme” abortion restrictions.
“Congressional Republicans are doubling down on their extreme positions,” Biden said, claiming Republicans want “to pass a law that would ban abortion nationwide.”
Calling on supporters to recall “the anger, the worry, the disbelief” they felt when the Supreme Court repealed Roe v. Wade, Biden promised he would “codify Roe” as his first order of business if Democrats maintain their hold on Congress.
“If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. “And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”
Biden’s promise reflects a faltering effort to make the upcoming elections a referendum on the Republican party’s supposed “extremism,” rather than the mess Biden has made of the country.
While Biden says he wants to “codify Roe,” Democratic candidates in key races have studiously avoided defining any limits they would support on abortion during televised interviews and debates.
“We need to get politicians out of the way and let doctors provide the care they are trained to provide,” Arizona Democratic governor Katie Hobbs told CNN recently, when pressed to define her position. “Politicians don’t belong in those decisions.”
Democrats were riding high this summer on a backlash to the end of Roe v. Wade, but Republicans are surging in the final weeks before Election Day as voters remain preoccupied with a spiraling economy.
For Biden to actually follow through on his promise to “codify Roe,” he would need to not only defend but expand his razor-thin Senate majority. But polling and betting markets indicate that Democrats will likely lose the House and the Senate.
Biden acknowledged that he’s “short a handful of votes,” with Democrats Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) unwilling to bypass the filibuster. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, has pledged to nuke the filibuster to protect abortion.