Two individuals who would go on to become president voiced their opinions on the issue of abortion at the turn of the 21st century. In an interview in 1999 on “Meet the Press,” Donald Trump, who was a real estate magnate at the time, stated that he was “extremely pro-choice” and attributed his views to “a little bit of a New York upbringing.”
During the same period, Joe Biden, a Democratic senator from Delaware at the time, had a wavering stance on the topic. In the same year (1999), Biden cast a vote of support for the Roe v. Wade decision. Nevertheless, during that time, he voted to uphold a law that prohibited American servicewomen from using their fun pay for abortions performed in military hospitals outside the United States. In 1977, Joe Biden cast his vote against a compromise that would have let Medicaid pay for abortions if the mother was the victim of rape, incest, or the mother’s life was in danger.
Before he announced his candidacy for president in 2019, he was a proponent of the Hyde amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer money to pay for abortions. Fast forward to 2022, and these individuals have established themselves as improbable heroes for the other side. Trump was the most influential figure in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, which has been in place for the past half-century. Trump currently holds a third of the court’s seats.
And Vice President Joe Biden, who was incensed by the verdict, made a passionate call to arms, promising to use his office to assist women who live in areas where abortion is illegal to have an abortion. And he begged the public for their assistance in electing representatives to Congress who would write the right into law on a national level. Biden said, “Let’s be very clear: The health and lives of women in this nation are now at risk.” He displayed a mix of anger and sadness as he talked about young girls who would be forced to carry the products of incest and women who would endure the pain of delivering their rapists’ offspring. “Let’s be very clear: The health and lives of women in this nation are now at risk,”
According to the president, the decision “put the United States in a unique position relative to other developed nations throughout the world.” However, “this ruling cannot serve as the last word.” My administration will utilise all of the necessary legal authorities to assist women seeking abortions; nonetheless, Congress requires action. You have the power to take action with your vote,” he continued. You have the opportunity to have the last say. This is not yet finished.”
It was like many Americans were forced to watch the expected death of a close friend who had been battling a terminal disease on Friday. Polling reveals that a large majority of Americans favour legal abortion rights. The majority of people were aware of the impending judgment, as the basis to overturn a request that the Supreme Court had itself created in 1993 was detailed in a dissenting opinion that was made public. But it was a gut hit nonetheless, with protestors yelling and crying outside the black metal gates guarding the Supreme Court as they processed the reality of a day they had thought might not arrive. Sonia Ossorio, head of the National Organization for Women in New York, describes the event as “as if a death had occurred.”
And none of this would probably have occurred if Donald Trump hadn’t been elected president in 2016. Trump is an uncommon presidential candidate since he was the first person to run for president without military or political experience. However, he could win over essential portions of the Republican base by using his marketing and branding talents. As a former casino owner who had three marriages and boasted in his books about his adulterous relationships, Donald Trump was not an obvious choice for religious conservatives and evangelicals as their candidate of choice. However, he vowed to choose justices for the Supreme Court who shared his views on abortion and accepted a judgment that was harshly anti-abortion.
According to exit polls, Trump won the vote of white evangelicals by an overwhelming majority, receiving 81 per cent of their vote versus Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 16 per cent of that vote. This helped push Trump over the top in states crucial to the election. According to Barbara Perry, a presidential researcher and specialist on the Supreme Court who works at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, “They both flipped, in a manner.”
She describes it as “a development” for Biden’s position. Biden opposed abortion, and his stance was partially reflected in his voting record. Biden was a devout Catholic and had suffered the loss of a child in an automobile accident. Perry notes that in the years since then, with shifting social mores and attitudes toward women (not to mention being married to Jill Biden, who was the first first lady to hold a professional job outside of the White House), Biden has evolved into a staunch advocate for the legalisation of abortion.
According to Perry, the transformation was a transactional process for Trump. “He’s simply a terrible opportunist. According to Perry, the candidate “spoke what he needed to say to obtain the Republican nomination.”
Trump, who continues to conduct rallies and dangle the idea of a 2024 presidential run despite Congress holding damaging hearings on his involvement in the uprising on January 6, welcomed the verdict on Friday. According to comments made by Trump to Fox News, “this restores everything to the states where it has always belonged.” “By doing this, we are adhering to the Constitution and restoring liberties that were supposed to have been restored long ago.” Biden, who was in the Oval Office when the ruling was handed down and made changes to a draft speech prepared in anticipation of the decision, acknowledged in his remarks on Friday that there was little he could do to ease the effects of the decision. Biden was present in the Oval Office when the ruling was handed down. The president has stated that he will provide instructions to the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that “essential medications” such as the abortion pill are “accessible to the maximum degree practicable.”
The White House has also stated that it will oppose any efforts by states to stop women from travelling to another state to seek an abortion and has pledged to do so.
But, as Biden pointed out, the fact is that only Congress has the power to vote on whether or not to codify what was in the now-defunct Roe verdict.
The popularity of Vice President Joe Biden is at an all-time low, and the trends for the midterm elections are not favourable to the party now in power. As a result, the Democrats are in danger of losing control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate this fall. If anything like that were to occur, there would be almost no possibility that Congress would take any step to codify abortion rights. Abortion rights activists are concerned that if a Republican were elected president, a Republican Congress would outlaw all abortions, even in states currently deciding whether to keep access to abortion in light of the recent Supreme Court verdict.
Democrats have high hopes that the contentious topic of abortion would serve as a rallying point for disenchanted voters who do not want Republicans to be in power but may not be inspired to participate in the electoral process. On Friday, a large number of Democratic contenders announced that, if elected, they would work to protect women’s access to abortion.
In the past, opponents of abortion have been more successful in mobilising their followers to vote, which may be because proponents of abortion rights have been overconfident in the belief that Roe v. Wade will not be reversed. Democratic insiders believe that the judgment on Friday might turn around the momentum that has been building.
Danielle Butterfield, executive director of the Democratic SuperPAC, “Centering abortion access in our messaging before this election season is crucial to rallying people against the immediate threat Republicans face to both reproductive rights and democracy.” Ossorio predicts women will answer Friday’s ruling at the polls in November.
“We’re at the end of our ropes,” after years of bearing the extra family burden from COVID, the baby food shortage and the child care crunch, Ossorio says. “This is a huge galvanising moment. There isn’t any energy for politeness or stepping aside as we’re ‘supposed’ to do. Women are very focused now.”