By Dave Andrusko
Some of the heavyweights in the Abortion Industry continue to publically egg the Biden administration to go further in “protecting reproductive rights” while others evidently appear to believe it makes more sense to praise him and work behind the scenes. That divide was vividly on display yesterday in a New York Times piece entitled “Abortion Rights Supporters See Biden Address as Missed Opportunity.”
Lisa Lerer’s first two paragraphs signal where she personally is coming down:
During the midterm campaigns, Democrats spent months focused on the demise of federal abortion rights and the danger they said it posed to all Americans.
In his State of the Union speech, President Biden spent roughly 42 seconds.
But Lerer immediately presents the Biden administration’s position—they’re doing the best they can and (it’s implied) they ought to be given some credit for taking “the most aggressive approach to abortion rights of any administration in history.”
[S]ome abortion rights supporters said they saw the brief mention [in his State of the Union speech] as a missed opportunity to leverage the power of the bully pulpit in what they often describe as a national health crisis. They were also mystified that the president passed up a chance to play up his own record, which nearly all praised.”
“President Biden’s remarks on the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade were disappointing and a lost opportunity,” said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which argued the case over Roe at the Supreme Court.”
By contrast, Mini Timmaraju, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, “praised Vice President Kamala Harris’s efforts and called Mr. Biden the ‘most pro-choice reproductive freedom president in history, saying abortion rights got more attention than in any previous State of the Union.”
Put those two statements together—Biden has a sterling anti-life record but in devoting less than a minute to abortion in his State of the Union address was a “missed opportunity” —and you see the tension in the pro-abortion community: how hard do they criticize Biden?
National Right to Life also commented on the SOTU speech. We noted that as president, Joe Biden has aggressively promoted abortion without limits. His administration has
- promoted abortion around the world by reversing the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance program which prevented federal taxpayer dollars from being used by abortion groups to perform or promote abortion overseas;
- suspended protections established for women undergoing chemical abortions, such as seeing the abortionist in person. The in-person requirement ensured that complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy, are ruled out in advance of a woman undergoing a chemical abortion. Mifepristone, the “abortion pill,” has no effect on an ectopic pregnancy and leaves the woman with this life- threatening medical condition. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also permit pharmacists to dispense chemical abortion drugs, and will permit these dangerous drugs to be sent through the mail;
- strongly supported the radical Women’s Health Protection Act which would essentially remove all legal protections for unborn children on the federal and state level and prevent future protections for unborn children;
- supported eliminating the Hyde Amendment which prevents the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother;
- has considered actions to advance access to abortion, including an effort to encourage states to apply for Medicaid waivers to pay for abortion travel;
- has announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay for and provide abortions for “health reasons,” defined broadly as to be for any reason. This has been statutorily prohibited since 1992. Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Defense announced it will pay the travel and transportation costs for military members and dependents to travel to obtain elective abortions.
For pro-lifers, that is an extremely depressing record. So what has Biden missed from the Abortion Lobby’s perspective? Declaring a national public health emergency, a colossal leap forward that only the hard-core abortion cadre believes Biden can get away with.
He has toyed with the idea, but that would represent a turnabout from last July on the question of declaring a public health emergency. At a press briefing Jen Klein, the Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said
When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple things. One is that it doesn’t free very many resources. It’s what’s in the public health emergency fund, and there’s very little money — tens of thousands of dollars in it. So that didn’t seem like a great option. And it also doesn’t release a significant amount of legal authority. And so that’s why we haven’t taken that action yet.