President Joe Biden will try to keep abortion rights in the spotlight when he speaks at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, a Democratic official told CNN, as the White House hopes the issue will continue to galvanize voters heading into the midterm elections.
Three weeks from Election Day, Biden will deliver remarks at a DNC event at the Howard Theatre in the nation’s capital, according to the Democratic official, who said the President will discuss “the choice that voters face this November between Republicans who want to ban abortion nationwide with criminal penalties to put doctors in jail if they violate the ban, and Democrats who want to codify (Roe v. Wade) into law to protect women’s reproductive freedom.”
Biden and many Democrats have sought to make abortion rights a central focus of the campaign after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which removed the federal right to an abortion.
In both political and official White House venues, the President has zeroed in on the fight to protect abortion rights in recent weeks, pushing back on Republican-led efforts to enact abortion restrictions at the federal and state level. As his administration unveiled new steps to enhance abortion protections earlier this month, Biden said he would not “sit by and let Republicans throughout the country enact extreme policies.”
The White House has seized on a proposal from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina that would impose a federal ban on most abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy. At a Democratic fundraiser in New York City last month, the President described Graham’s bill as emblematic of Republicans becoming “more extreme in their positions.”
As the midterm elections approach, Biden has argued that voters need to elect more Democrats in order to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into law. He’s also pledged to veto any bill that would ban abortions on the federal level if Republicans take control of Congress.
More than a dozen states have seen abortions bans come into effect since the Dobbs ruling, affecting nearly 30 million women of reproductive age.
While Democrats hope abortion rights will motivate voters, a recent CNN/SSRS poll found that the economy remains the central focus for voters, with 90 percent of registered voters saying it was extremely or very important to their vote. Fewer – 72 percent – said abortion was as important.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, however, found that the issue of abortion was a key motivator for American voters this year, with 50 percent saying the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe made them more motivated to head to the polls this year.
“Voters need to make their voices heard,” Biden said in June in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.”