Biden Promises to Prioritize Federal Abortion Bill If Democrats Keep Majorities in Congress

In his latest attempt to rally voters just three weeks ahead of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden promised to push a bill in Congress that would ensure nationwide access to abortion if the Democrats secure a majority in both chambers.

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee event on Tuesday, Biden said he’s looking to sign the bill early next year to codify Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that had established abortion as a constitutional right until it was overturned in June. This would require Democrats to not only hold onto control of the House, but also expand their slim 51–50 majority in the Senate in the upcoming midterm.

“Folks, 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, and when Congress passes that, I’ll sign it in January,” the president told his audience at Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

The Senate is currently under Democrat control, with one vote from Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. This means Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to flip the upper chamber in their favor.

Even having 50 Senate seats is not enough for Democrats to advance their agenda. They need at least 52 to kill a Republican filibuster.

“If you give me two more Democratic senators in the United States Senate, I promise you we’re going to codify Roe,” Biden said last month at an event with the nation’s largest teachers’ union. “We’ll once again make Roe the law of the land.”

Democrats Attempt to Codify Roe

The Supreme Court, in its decision that ended Roe, didn’t outlaw abortion, but effectively sent the question of abortion access back to individual states. As a result, more than a dozen states have revived their pre-1973 bans or restrictions on abortion.

In response to that ruling, House Democrats in mid-July passed two abortion-related bills. One, called the Women’s Health Protection Act, sought to restore the federal protection of abortion. It passed the House in a near-party line 219-210 vote, with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) joining all present Republicans against the measure.

The other one, called the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, would prohibit states from restricting or retaliating against a woman who travels across state lines to get abortions. It passed the House by 223–205, with three Republicans—Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)—joining all present Democrats in supporting the measure.

Both bills could face some steep hurdles in the Senate, depending on the outcome of the November elections.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a bill last month that would, at a federal level, outlaw abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Biden has pledged to veto any bill like this if it ever comes to his desk.

“You have Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and others talking about how they’re going to make sure that Roe is forever gone,” Biden said at a DNC event. “I’m going to be around at least for another two years, so he can pass or it not, I’m going to veto it. It’s not going to happen.”

“We’re in a situation where things have changed a lot,” he added, describing himself as a “practicing Roman Catholic” whose church has soften its stance on abortion over recent years. “But they’ve gotten more extreme in their positions.”


Bill Pan is a reporter for The Epoch Times.

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