Biden revives abortion to counter Republican strategy
Inflation, immigration, crime: three weeks before the mid-term elections, the question of the right to abortion is losing ground then that Republicans are betting with some success on other American concerns. Joe Biden is now trying to turn things around.
US President Joe Biden has pledged to codify abortion rights if his party retains control of Congress in the midterm elections.
WASHINGTON – “I promise you that the first piece of legislation I send to Congress will be to codify [Roe v. Wade],” U.S. President Joe Biden thundered Tuesday at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington. “And as soon as Congress passes it, I will sign it, in January, for 50 years [of this legal decision].
Since the beginning of the midterm election campaign in the United States, the issue of abortion has galvanized crowds and led to breakthroughs for the Democratic Party, explains in interview Todd Belt, professor and director of the political science program at George-Washington University.
This is particularly the case in the conservative state of Kansas where, to everyone's surprise, the population opposed a constitutional amendment aimed at banning abortion, he recalls. Or, in the special election in New York State, where Democratic Representative Pat Ryan won after a campaign focused on this issue.
So the question , for the Democrats, it is to keep this priority issue, underlines Professor Belt, and this is the reason why we saw Joe Biden make this announcement [Tuesday]
But the issue of abortion rights is increasingly overshadowed by what constitutes the main concern of Americans of all political stripes: the economy, according to many polls. And this theme, exploited by the Republicans, is not to the advantage of the Democrats, believes Todd Belt.
Republicans have begun hammering the issue of crime in cities with some success. And recently, they are bringing back immigration, analyzes Mr. Belt. The Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing Joe Biden's record and want to bring abortion back to the fore, because its importance has really diminished since the Republicans managed to pull together their discourse on the inflation.
According to a poll published this Monday by the Siena Institute with the New York Times, it is even among independent voters that the swing towards the Republican Party is the most important. The Democrats are now floundering, 18 points behind in this bracket of the electorate, compared to 14 points ahead in September.
What's more, facing the lack of popularity of anti-abortion stances, Republican candidates began to shift their messaging, avoiding the topic and even removing it from their websites, reported the New York Times< /em> last Wednesday.
Even if Republicans now avoid talking about abortion, the subject will de facto be an issue at the polls in five states on November 8, in the context of local referendums. This is a record number in a single year, according to the Ballotpedia digital encyclopedia.
- California: voters will decide if they want to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution.
- Kentucky: Abortion has already been banned in Kentucky since the reversal of Roe v. Wade. As in Kansas, voters will be able to vote to enshrine this ban in their Constitution.
- Michigan: Voters will have to decide whether they want to protect the right to abortion in l adding to their Constitution. Such an addition would protect the state from the return of a 1931 anti-abortion law, which is currently being challenged in court.
- Vermont: Vermonters may choose to register the right to reproductive autonomy in their Constitution.
- Montana: Abortion is currently prohibited in Montana after the viability of the fetus, unless there is a risk to the life or health of the mother. Voters will have to vote on a controversial measure to force doctors to provide care to children born alive, regardless of their medical condition, or risk facing penalties ranging from $50,000 to 20 years in prison. /li>
Recall that Roe v. Wade had been protecting abortion rights in the United States for nearly half a decade. It was struck down by the Supreme Court last June, allowing each state to legislate on the issue.
According to a recent review by the Washington Post , 14 states have since banned voluntary termination of pregnancy. In seven others, bans have been blocked. Moreover, of the 29 states where abortion is still legal, the right is protected in 20 of them, but threatened in 9 others.
According to several analysts, including the firm Cook Political Report and the political analysis media Politico, the Democrats would be on the way to losing their majority in the House of Representatives. The die would not be cast for control of the Senate, however, where the Democrats could still retain the majority.
And the Senate is instrumental in protecting the right to abortion , explains Todd Belt: If the Republicans take the Senate, they will be able to prevent the appointments of judges by Joe Biden. Why is this so important? Because states that pass abortion laws could be challenged in federal courts. Judges are going to be extremely important, beyond this election.
Report produced as part of an internship at the Radio-Canada office in Washington , thanks to a grant from the Fondation de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).