Washington: Abortion rights will be enshrined into federal law if Democrats retain control of the US Congress at next month’s midterm elections, with President Joe Biden announcing it will be the first bill he’ll sign.
Amid polls showing Democrats losing ground as the economy remains the top priority among Americans, Biden has sought to galvanise more voters to turn up in the final three weeks of the campaign by emphasising what a Republican majority could mean for women’s reproductive rights.
US President Joe Biden arrives to speak during a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre.Credit:AP
“I’m asking the American people to remember how you felt that day the extreme (Supreme Court) decision came down and Roe was overturned after 50 years,” he said, in a reference to Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that protected women’s constitutional right to have an abortion in America.
“And I want you to remember that the final say does not rest with the court. It does not rest with extremist Republicans in Congress. The final say about your right to choose rests with you.”
Speaking at a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC, Biden promised to sign a bill codifying Roe v Wade on January 22 next year, marking the 50th-year anniversary of the original ruling.
The move would come months after the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe resulted in multiple states banning or severely restricting abortion access for women, forcing them to travel interstate in order to get treatment.
It would also come after the Democrats tried unsuccessfully to codify abortion protections earlier this year, but did not have the numbers in the evenly split Senate.
In his speech, Biden emphasised the push by some Republicans for a national abortion ban – an idea that was recently outlined by high-profile Senator Lindsey Graham – and moves by Republican states to criminally prosecute doctors who perform abortions.
The president also made a specific pitch to young voters, who polls show are most likely to vote for Democrats – provided they show up, given voting is not compulsory in the US.
“I’m not saying you have to shoulder the burden alone,” he said. “The task at hand and the task ahead is the work of all of us – but what I am saying is you represent the best of us. Your generation will not be ignored, will not be shunned and will not be silent.”
Biden’s speech comes at as the campaign for the midterm elections hit the final stretch at a time when the economy remains a top priority for most voters.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund warned the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the slowdown in China and the cost-of-living crisis caused by broadening inflation pressures had placed the global economy on the brink of a recession.
New figures also showed that core inflation in the US – which tracks average price rises except for volatile food and energy costs – jumped 6.6 per cent last, its highest rise since 1982.
The numbers do not bode well for Democrats, who are desperate to hold on to their slim majority in the House, which Republicans are widely tipped to win, as well as the Senate, where the outcome will depend on critical battlegrounds such as Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Georgia.
Nonetheless, abortion continues to remain a hot-button issue as the Supreme Court’s decision plays out in states across the country.
In Georgia, for instance, Donald Trump’s chosen candidate Herschel Walker – a former football star who has campaigned in support of a national ban on abortion – has come under fire over claims he quietly paid an ex-girlfriend to terminate a pregnancy in 2009.
In Kentucky and Michigan, abortion access will be a specific item put to voters on November 8 – just as it was in Kansas in August when an attempt to remove protections for women was resoundingly defeated.
And in multiple states such as Arizona and Virginia, Democrats have unleashed a series of attack ads painting their Republican candidates as “extremists” on the issue.
Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.
Most Viewed in World
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article