The president of the United States, Joe Biden, attempted to rouse his left-leaning base on Tuesday, October 18, by promising to sign legislation codifying abortion rights in January 2023, if Democrats take control of Congress the next year. Biden was under strain as a result of excessive inflation.
Democrats led by Biden may lose control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate in the November elections. The president aims to rally the party and its supporters in support of abortion rights, which have been severely restricted since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling nearly four months ago.
In exchange for more Democrats being elected to Congress, President Joe Biden agreed to sign legislation codifying abortion rights on January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that the Supreme Court overturned in June.
“It’s critical to elect more Democrats. … 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 at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington.
“Your right to choose rests with you. If you do your part and vote for Democratic leaders of Congress, I promise you, we’ll do our part. I’ll do my part. And with your support, I’ll sign a law codifying Roe in January,” the president said.
A crowd of people gather outside the US Supreme Court in Washington DC, on May 2, 2022. Photo: AP/Anna Johnson
The president’s comments were intended to rekindle the outrage that pro-abortion rights advocates had felt following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, which was delivered in June and reversed a half-century of guaranteed abortion rights in every state in America. According to Biden, 16 states have implemented abortion restrictions since the decision, requiring women to fly for the procedure.
Democrats and female voters seem to have been originally influenced by the decision: Democrats have outperformed in each of the five special elections for Congress held since Dobbs, including a surprise victory in an upstate New York congressional district. Furthermore, research by the organisation TargetSmart shows that women have been registering to vote at noticeably greater rates nationwide.
However, research has shown that Americans are also concerned about the economy and inflation, which has Democrats fearful that swing voters would support the GOP in an effort to lower their food and gas costs.
According to a poll conducted by the New York Times and Siena College on Monday, 49% of those polled said they would vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress, while 44% would vote for a Democrat. In that study, it was discovered that 26% of respondents named the economy as the most significant issue currently affecting the nation, followed by 18% of respondents who named inflation and the cost of living as their top concerns. Just 5% of voters named abortion as their main concern.
Democrats have doubts about that specific survey. On Tuesday afternoon’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, California Democrat and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to it as an “outlier.” And other tendencies are seen in other polls: For instance, according to a Morning Consult poll issued on Tuesday, Democrats are receiving 48% of the “generic ballot” vote compared to 45% for Republicans. In a poll conducted by Fox News on the same day as the Siena College survey, 44% of respondents backed Democrats, compared to 41% of Republicans.
But the economy, particularly inflation, is still a problem for Biden’s administration and hurts Democrats who are vying for seats in the House and Senate, which are very closely divided.
Democratic operatives argue that Biden needs to address the high cost of living and that focusing on abortion rights cannot be the only tactic. In that vein, they point out that the president’s rumored plan to release additional oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to OPEC’s decision to limit oil output may lower gas prices and, consequently, some voter angst. On Wednesday, Biden intends to discuss the price of gasoline.
But according to Democratic sources, the president and other Democrats must also keep stressing to the populace the importance of abortion access in the event that Republicans really regain control of the House and Senate.
“It feels like something to create a new call to action for his base,” says Joel Payne, a veteran Democratic strategist. “There is no national narrative that can cover everyone’s situation,” but abortion is an important issue for voters the Democrats need to turn out this fall to win key seats, he says.
During the Democratic National Committee event on Tuesday, October 18, Biden emphasized what is occurring and what may occur if Republicans take over Congress. In certain places, he added, women and girls are already being denied medicines for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis because the medications may be used to end a pregnancy. Since miscarriage treatment entails abortion, women who experience miscarriages are turned away from emergency hospitals and advised to come back when they are worse.
The president warned that Republicans will create the basis to restrict abortion nationwide even though he would veto any such legislation while in office.
Biden targeted young people, in particular, reminding them of his accomplishments on subjects like gun control, marijuana possession pardons, and student loan forgiveness.
“Remember how you felt the day the harsh Dobbs decision came down; the final say regarding the freedom to choose lies with you.”