Biden Campaign Readies Abortion Rights Blitz Against Trump

A new ad and events from Biden and Harris signal a new focus for the campaign.
President Joe Biden, shown here at a rally before the 2022 midterm elections, is expected to speak more forcefully about the threat former President Donald Trump poses to abortion rights this week.
President Joe Biden, shown here at a rally before the 2022 midterm elections, is expected to speak more forcefully about the threat former President Donald Trump poses to abortion rights this week.
via Associated Press

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to slam former President Donald Trump over abortion rights this week, with their reelection campaign releasing its first ad wholly focused on the topic and campaign stops planned in Wisconsin and Virginia.

The push, built around the 51st anniversary of the now-overturned Roe v. Wade decision giving women the right to an abortion, will also see Biden convene a White House task force on reproductive rights on Monday. It comes as Democrats remain anxious about Biden’s campaign, including the president’s comfort level with what many Democratic Party leaders believe is their most effective political message.

“Because of Republican elected officials, women’s health and lives are at risk,” Biden said in a statement on Monday morning. “In states across the country, women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to go to court to seek permission for the medical attention they need, and made to travel hundreds of miles for health care.”

Biden increasingly appears likely to face former President Donald Trump, who appointed three Supreme Court justices key to overturning Roe, in the 2024 general election. Since the court’s decision stripping away abortion rights, Democrats have hammered the GOP over the issue, winning close races in the 2022 midterms and a series of state-by-state referenda on abortion rights.

“[Trump] made a decision to take your freedoms and it is a decision he does not regret,” Harris is set to say during a speech in suburban Waukesha County, Wis. on Monday. “He is proud.”

The issue is set to be central again in 2024, with referenda to protect abortion rights on the ballot in the swing states of Arizona and Florida, and Democrats up and down the ballot preparing to run on it. While polls show Biden and Trump are locked in a close contest, voters overwhelmingly believe the Supreme Court was wrong to overturn Roe.

Biden’s first ad on the issue is straight out of the playbook Democrats have run repeatedly in recent years, featuring an OB-GYN speaking direct to camera about having to leave her home state of Texas to obtain an abortion after an ultrasound revealed the fetus had a fatal condition.

“That is because of Donald Trump overturning Roe v. Wade,” Dr. Austin Dennard, a mother of three, says in the minute-long ad. “The choice was completely taken away.”

The campaign said the ad will air during the season premiere of “The Bachelor” on Monday night, and will air on cable channels with younger female viewerships, including HGTV, TLC, Bravo, Hallmark, Food Network and Oxygen. It will also air during the NFL conference championship games next Sunday.

Trump has scrambled to distance himself from the massively unpopular Supreme Court decision he enabled, recently criticizing harsh state-level abortion bans. At the same time, he has repeatedly bragged to GOP primary audiences about the central role he played in overturning Roe v. Wade.

“For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it and I’m proud to have done it,” he said during a Fox News town hall before the Iowa caucuses this month.

The party’s emphasis on abortion rights has occasionally been uncomfortable for Biden, a devout Catholic who began his career believing the Supreme Court went “too far” on the Roe v. Wade decision. As recently as June, Biden has described himself as “not big on abortion.”

This has caused some handwringing about Biden’s willingness to emphasize the issue as he campaigns for reelection.

“I think people want to know that this is a president that is fighting,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Biden surrogate and staunch supporter of abortion rights, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “And I think he has said that, to use maybe more, you know, blunt language, maybe that would be helpful.”

Biden allies hope this week’s push will quiet similar chatter. The White House meeting on Monday will include Biden rolling out policies to make more contraceptives free under the Affordable Care Act and launching an awareness campaign aimed at hospitals and patients about rights to access abortion care in emergency situations.

Then, on Tuesday, the entire Democratic ticket — Biden, Harris, and their respective spouses — will travel to suburban Virginia for a rally focused on reproductive rights.

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