President of the United States Joe Biden declared on Tuesday that if Democrats take control of the Congress in 2019, he will sign a measure that codifies abortion rights in January despite growing criticism over soaring inflation as midterm elections draw near.
In the November elections, Democrats led by Biden might lose control of the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate. He is attempting to mobilize the party and its followers in support of abortion rights, which have been severely constrained since the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the important Roe v. Wade decision nearly four months ago.
If Democrats elect more senators and keep control of the House of Representatives, Biden said he will sign a law codifying Roe in January to protect abortion rights.
“Here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: the first bill I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v Wade,” Biden said during remarks at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington on Tuesday.
He also urged Americans to remember how they felt the day the court’s decision was announced.
“I want you to remember that the final say does not rest in the Court now. It does not rest with extremist Republicans in Congress. The final say about your right to choose.. rests with you. And if you do your part and vote, Democratic leaders in Congress I promise you will do our part. I’ll do my part.”
During his remarks, the president also cited a part of the Supreme Court ruling ruling that said women are not without electoral or political power, suggesting they could mobilize and elect lawmakers to guarantee abortion rights.
“Let me tell you something. The court and extreme Republicans who spent decades trying to overturn Roe are about to find out,” Biden said. Abortion bans have gone into effect in 16 states since the court’ ruling.
Democrats currently have a slim majority in the House and control the 50-50 Senate through Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to cast tie-breaking votes.
Passing such a bill could be difficult even if Democrats hold onto their slim Senate majority, as that chamber’s rules require 60 of the 100 senators to agree on most legislation.
Some Democrats have suggested abolishing the Senate filibuster to pass an abortion-rights rule, but so far have not succeeded in drumming up the support within their ranks to make that change.
While abortion has played a critical role in Democrats’ midterm messaging, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows that Americans are more worried about inflation.
Nationwide, just 8% of Americans cited the end of national abortion rights as the issue that will most influence how they vote in November, compared with 27% who cited inflation in a poll conducted Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
Some 20% of Democratic women cite the end of national abortion rights as their top issue for the midterms, compared with 22% who cite inflation. Outside that group, abortion is a lower priority.
Some 9% of Democratic men cited abortion as their top issue, compared with 19% who cite inflation.
Biden and top White House officials this month announced new guidelines and grants to protect abortion and contraception rights. He has said he would not “sit by and let Republicans throughout the country enact extreme policies.”