Joe Biden's Brief But Powerful Promise On Abortion Rights At The State Of The Union

Joe Biden addressed Americans in the annual State of the Union last night, his first such address since Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, the landmark legislation that constitutionalized the right to abortion for Americans. Since then, states across the country have been carving away the autonomy of Americans by severely limiting or outright banning abortions, thus forcing many women and girls to travel out of state for abortion medication

In the immediate aftermath of the law's overturning, Biden supported the idea of an exception to the filibuster (via The Guardian) that would allow Democrats to codify abortion rights at the federal level, though this never came to fruition. He also vowed to sign a law in support of Roe v. Wade, should Democrats remain in control of both the House and Senate after midterm elections in 2022, per C-SPAN. But when Democrats lost the House to Republicans, did Americans also lose that promise? 

The state of abortion rights in the US is still in massive flux. While some states have opted to make the right to an abortion part of their constitution, others have tightened their grip on abortion restrictions even further. According to Insider, while it is legally possible for Roe v. Wade to be reinstated, given the current political climate and circumstances, the odds are slim to none. What can the president do to restore abortion rights? 

Biden makes a new promise about Roe v. Wade at SOTU

Over the duration of President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address, which lasted around 70 minutes, president Biden mentioned the state of abortion rights just once. In fact, he said the word "abortion" just once, around an hour after the speech began, per The Guardian, drawing criticism from some abortion activists. The official published transcript has the word written twice, meaning Biden dropped one instance of it during his speech. 

"Congress must restore the right that was taken away in Roe v. Wade, and protect Roe v. Wade" he began, in a clip of the speech provided by PBS News Hour. "The vice president and I are doing everything to protect access to reproductive health care, and safeguard patient safety. But already more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans." President Biden then makes a brief, but powerful promise to the American people. "Make no mistake about it," he began. "If Congress passes a national ban, I will veto it," he said. Biden doubled down on his Twitter account, restating his vow to veto a national abortion ban. Biden then called for Congress to pass the Equality Act. 

With another presidential election around the corner in 2024, Biden is expected to run for another term, while far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Green — who heckled Joe Biden throughout his address — is expected to be the running mate for Donald Trump as he seeks another presidential bid.