President Biden on Tuesday directly blamed former President Trump, his likely general election opponent, for the erosion of abortion access across the country and warned supporters another Trump presidency would further curtail reproductive rights.
Biden, speaking at his first campaign rally of the year, put the focus squarely on reproductive rights, an issue he and other Democrats are hoping will motivate female voters and rally the party’s base heading into November.
“Let there be no mistake. The person most responsible for taking away this freedom in America is Donald Trump,” Biden said.
“The reason women are being forced to travel across state lines for health care is Donald Trump,” he added. “The reason their fundamental right has been stripped away is Donald Trump.”
Trump appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, which in 2022 issued a decision overturning the long-standing Roe v. Wade ruling. State governments across the country have since instituted laws dramatically curtailing abortion rights.
The president warned “MAGA Republicans” were set on further restricting abortion access, citing Republican-led states that have passed laws to ban abortion after as little as six weeks of pregnancy and impose punishments on doctors who perform the procedures.
Biden repeatedly singled out Trump, who is on a glide path to the GOP nomination and has repeatedly taken credit for ending Roe v. Wade because of his appointments.
“Donald Trump is betting we won’t vote on this issue … He’s betting you’re going to stop caring … that you’ll get distracted, discouraged and stay home,” Biden said. “Well guess what? I’m betting he’s wrong.”
The White House has taken executive action to try and protect access to abortion medication, contraception and emergency abortions at hospitals. Biden has also called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade, but there is no path for such legislation with Republicans controlling the House and a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate.
Throughout his remarks, Biden would pause talking because he met with several protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. The crowd responded to the protests with chants of “let’s go Joe” that drowned out the protesters.
“I’m sorry it’s taking so long,” Biden said after hearing from a protester.
Biden was introduced by Amanda Zurawski, who was one of five women who sued Texas last year for denying them an abortion while facing pregnancy complications.
“Over and over again, Donald Trump brags about killing Roe v. Wade. It is unthinkable to me that anyone could cheer on these abortion bans that nearly took my life,” she said.
Prior to his remarks, Biden met privately with Zurawski, who was told at 18 weeks that her baby would not survive but had a heartbeat, so doctors couldn’t provide care in Texas. When Zurawski went into septic shock, the doctor was then able to induce labor and she delivered her child, who passed away.
Abortion rights have proven to be a galvanizing force for Democrats, with the party adding a seat to its Senate majority, winning the Kentucky gubernatorial election, winning both chambers in the Virginia legislative elections and passing pro-abortion ballot referendums in Kansas and Ohio in the aftermath of the 2022 Supreme Court decision.
The Biden campaign held the rally in Northern Virginia to highlight that in 2023, Democrats retained the Senate, flipped the state House blue and “rejected” Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) effort to put in place restrictions on abortion access. Biden won Virginia in 2020, beating Trump.
It marked the first campaign event of the year in which Biden, Harris and their spouses all appeared together. All four spoke in front of a large banner that read “Restore Roe.”
The president gave remarks Monday also highlighting the “cruel reality” the end of Roe created for women in the U.S. Harris gave remarks in Wisconsin, a key battleground state, tying Trump directly to the end of Roe v. Wade. The GOP-led Legislature there just introduced a 14-week abortion ban that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has vowed to fight.
And, the Biden-Harris reelection campaign released an ad Monday featuring Dr. Austin Dennard, an OB-GYN in Texas and mother of three who couldn’t receive an abortion in Texas. Dennard, who narrated the ad, placed the blame for her situation squarely on Trump.
In the roughly 19 months since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Republican-led legislatures have enacted restrictions on abortion access and punishments for doctors who perform the procedure.
Trump, who is poised to take on Biden in November in a rematch of 2020, has blamed Republicans’ handling of abortion for the party’s electoral struggles. The former president has said he supports exceptions to allow for abortions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother.
But Trump has repeatedly dodged when asked whether he would sign a national abortion ban if it came to his desk, and he has said frequently that he is proud to have appointed the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade.