By Victor Reklaitis
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday put a spotlight on the Democratic Party’s efforts in support of abortion rights, while criticizing Republican approaches.
“Congressional Republicans are doubling down on the extreme position with the proposal for a national ban,” Biden said, referring to South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill that proposes prohibiting the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy with certain exceptions.
Their remarks came during a meeting of Biden’s task force on abortion access, after Sunday marked 100 days since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
And the brief speeches hit five weeks before Election Day for the midterm contests, in which Democrats have focused on the Dobbs ruling’s aftereffects while Republicans have seized on Americans’ frustration with high inflation.
“Today’s extremist so-called leaders are attacking the freedom and liberty of millions of women,” Harris said. The vice president then referred to an Arizona judge’s ruling that an abortion ban there is enforceable, as well as a ban in Wisconsin .
Republicans have used similar rhetoric about Democratic stances on abortion, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying earlier this year that Democrats have “become jaw-droppingly extreme on this issue.”
The White House on Tuesday also was rolling out two new actions on abortion, namely new guidance for universities and new grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a Politico repor t citing a memo from a Biden administration official.
In his remarks, Biden noted that a 14-yea r-old girl in Arizona reportedly was denied a refill for a prescription drug that she takes for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis because the drug can be used to end a pregnancy.
In addition, the president highlighted the news that the University of Idaho had advised its employees to limit contraception offerings to students and refrain from promoting abortion rights, to avoid running afoul of state abortion laws.
“Folks, what century are we in? What are we doing?” Biden said, after mentioning the reports from Arizona and Idaho.