Biden issues a 2023 pledge to Dems: Hold on to Congress and I’ll sign abortion rights into law

The president’s promise comes as Democrats fear abortion rights is fading as a campaign issue.


President Joe Biden on Tuesday promised that the first bill he’ll send to the next Congress will be legislation to reinstate the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade.

In a speech at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, Biden also pledged to sign that bill into law around the anniversary of the original Roe ruling in late January.


Biden’s Silence on Abortion Rights at a Key Moment Worries Liberals

As a case before the Supreme Court threatens Roe v. Wade and Democrats’ urgency grows, many activists believe the president needs to be bolder in defending reproductive rights.

By Lisa Lerer
May 27, 2021

State legislatures have introduced more than 500 restrictions on abortion over the past four months. The Supreme Court plans to take up a case that could weaken or even overturn the constitutional right to abortion enshrined nearly a half-century ago in Roe v. Wade.

And as reproductive rights advocates sound alarms about what they see as an existential threat to abortion rights, many worry that the leader they helped elect is not meeting the moment.


Why Biden Needs to Go Big on Abortion

To be a transformational president, Biden has to fight loud and hard against the Republican assault on reproductive rights.

by Emily Crockett
May 10, 2021

Many progressives found themselves pleasantly surprised with Joe Biden after his first 100 days in office. He’s willing to go big, embrace the legacy of FDR and LBJ, and pass trillions in investments on party-line votes if Republicans don’t offer real solutions. In his first joint address to Congress last month, Biden laid out his agenda and made an unapologetic, empathetic case for big solutions to big crises: not just the pandemic and economic collapse, but also climate change, gun violence, systemic racism, immigration, and more. From the well of the House, Biden proudly advocated for just about every progressive reform that his administration supports. Yet he was silent on one major issue: the decimated state of access to safe, legal, and affordable abortion and the Republican Party’s continually escalating efforts to make it worse.


What Joe Biden’s Election Means For Abortion Rights

December 1, 2020
Sarah McCammon

Like many abortion rights opponents, Tom McClusky is feeling good about battles won under President Trump during his four years in office.

"He has probably done more pro-life things than many Republicans who have had two terms," McClusky said.


Kamala Harris is invigorating abortion rights activists

By Paige Winfield Cunningham
August 20, 2020

Joe Biden has been less willing than other Democrats to lurch leftward on abortion rights.

But the presidential nominee could hardly have given the issue a louder cheerleader than Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), his vice-presidential pick.

In her speech last night to the Democratic National Convention, Harris made only passing mention of reproductive rights, speaking of how minority Americans are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more acutely than White Americans.


USA – Abortion Fight Evolves, Overshadowed in 2020 but With Huge Stakes

Anti-abortion groups hope to keep Americans voting Republican despite anger at leaders’ handling of the coronavirus, race and the economy. Abortion-rights groups say the issues are all linked.

By Maggie Astor
Aug. 18, 2020

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of this year’s elections for the future of abortion in America. The results could eventually determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court or codified by Congress.

Normally, stakes that high would make abortion a primary focus of the 2020 campaign. But normally, the country wouldn’t be experiencing a pandemic, a recession and a civil rights movement all at once. On Night 1 of the Democratic National Convention, the sum total of the attention abortion received was the second it took Kamala Harris to say “reproductive justice” in a video montage.


USA – Democrats Discuss Abortion Rights in Depth at Debate

Democrats Discuss Abortion Rights in Depth at Debate
The candidates had their most significant discussion about abortion in any debate yet, tackling an issue whose absence from previous debates has angered advocates.

By Stephanie Saul
Feb. 7, 2020

In their most substantive debate statements to date on abortion, several of the leading Democratic presidential candidates reaffirmed on Friday night that if elected, they would put forward only Supreme Court nominees who supported Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a woman’s right to abortion.

Historically, many presidential candidates have shied away from an outright litmus test on abortion or any other issue, arguing that Supreme Court justices should not be selected based on their political positions but on their experience and jurisprudence. But that has changed this campaign cycle.


USA – 2020 Dems Say They’ll Protect Abortion Access. We Asked Them About Pills

2020 Dems Say They'll Protect Abortion Access. We Asked Them About Pills
We asked every Democrat who qualified for the debate about expanding access to medication abortion.

by Marie Solis; illustrated by Hunter French
Dec 16 2019

The October and November debates finally saw Democratic presidential candidates answer questions about abortion from moderators, months after reproductive health organizations and pro-choice advocates launched a pressure campaign to get 2020 contenders to talk about the issue on primetime television.

So far, candidates' plans for protecting abortion rights have consisted primarily of pledges to codify Roe v. Wade, which would require pro-choice majorities in the House and Senate to pass federal legislation upholding the principles of Roe in the event that the Supreme Court overturns or guts the 1973 decision.


Democratic Candidates Need to Do Better for Abortion Rights Than Promising to Make Roe v. Wade Law

Democratic Candidates Need to Do Better for Abortion Rights Than Promising to Make Roe v. Wade Law
Roe v. Wade already fails the most vulnerable.

By Mia Raven
November 20, 2019

When the Democratic candidates meet in Atlanta on November 20 for the latest debate, 40% of the participating contenders will be female. The historic number of women running for president in 2020 has dramatically changed the policies candidates are asked about, including introducing a nuanced debate question regarding abortion rights in the United States. While this question, asked at the October debate, was a fantastic first step, we were disappointed to see so many candidates state that their primary concern was to "codify Roe v. Wade." While the landmark case making it unconstitutional to outlaw abortion is important, it's not enough for candidates today to promise to make the Supreme Court decision federal law. Roe itself doesn't offer many of the protections we need if we want to make abortion accessible for all people capable of giving birth — especially for black, brown, and other marginalized people.