Since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in June in Dobbs v Jackson, which overturned the nearly 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision, the loss of abortions rights has seemingly sparked a political backlash, and Democratic voters and women in general have registered to vote in significant numbers.
During remarks at an event hosted by the Democratic National Committee at the Howard Theater in Washington on October 18, President Joe Biden responded to the situation bluntly: “If you care about the right to choose, then you gotta vote.”
“If Republicans get their way with a national ban it won’t matter where you live in America,” Biden said. The President has vowed to veto any bill that includes a national abortion ban that manages to reach his desk.
While a definite majority of Americans believe abortion should remain legal and disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, polls show that the economy and inflation are top priorities for voters, rather than abortion rights, for these midterms.
But Biden has boldly predicted that women will penalize Republicans for enacting abortion bans and restrictions, and he has urged Americans 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,” he said. “And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”
As it is very unlikely that Democrats will have 60 Senators after the midterms, in order to enshrine Roe into law the Senate would need to either abolish the filibuster, or create an exception to the rule that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation in the chamber.
Biden emphasized in his speech that the Dobbs ruling is already causing chaos and harm both for patients and providers. Victims of rape and incest are being forced to travel outside their own states to receive abortions, he said, while doctors fear the repercussions of intervening in instances of pregnancies that threaten the lives of the mothers.
The President also explained that the Dobbs decision does not just affect abortion, but “risks the border right to privacy for everyone,” threatening same-sex marriage and other fundamental rights. He then appealed to young people to make their voices heard:
“Your generation will not be ignored, will not be shunned, and will not be silent,” Biden said. “In 2020 you voted to deliver the change you wanted to see in the world. In 2022 you need to exercise your power to vote again for the future of our nation and the future of your generation.”