Biden, in fiery speech, announces actions on abortion rights
President Biden delivered an emotional speech Friday announcing an array of steps aimed at bolstering abortion rights, responding to growing demands from activists that he take bolder and more forceful action two weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, gave his fiery and at times angry remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House before signing an executive order to enhance access to reproductive health-care services.
While abortion activists generally welcomed the move, many said it would likely do little for women in states where abortion is banned.
Biden himself acknowledged the limits of his executive powers as he railed against the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, calling it “the Supreme Court’s terrible, extreme and, I think,
so totally wrongheaded decision.” He said the court’s majority is “playing fast and loose with the facts” by misrepresenting the history of abortion rights in America.
“What we’re witnessing wasn’t a constitutional judgment,” Biden said. “It was an exercise in raw political power.”
While outlining steps to protect doctors, safeguard access to abortion pills, mobilize lawyers and accomplish other goals, Biden reiterated his conviction that the best way to enshrine abortion rights is through the ballot box.
Specifically, he said the Senate needs two more pro-abortion rights senators to codify Roe, and he urged women to vote to reclaim their rights.
“The court has made clear it will not protect the rights of women — period. Period,” the president said. “After having made the decision based on a reading of a document that was frozen in time in the 1860s when women didn’t even have the right to vote, the court now practically dares the women of America to go to the ballot box and restore the very rights they’ve just taken away.”
Biden grew most visibly angry when he recounted reports that a 10-year-old girl who was raped had been forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana in search of a state where she could still get an abortion.
“Ten years old. Ten years old! Raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state,” he said. “Imagine being a little girl — just imagine being a little girl. …A 10-year-old girl shouldn’t be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child.”