April 8, 2024

Is the Biden campaign using abortion as its trump card? 

Joe Biden is making abortion rights a central plank in his re-election campaign. Earlier this week he signed a new executive order about reproductive health research. 

And last week Vice-President Kamala Harris made history as the first vice-president or president to visit an abortion clinic. She inspected a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota as part of her “reproductive freedoms tour” to several cities. There she said that: “The reason I’m here is because this is a health care crisis. Part of this health care crisis is the clinics like this that have had to shut down and what that has meant to leave no options with any reasonable geographic area for so many women who need this essential care.”

According to a KFF survey, about 1 in 8 voters says that abortion will be their top priority in November. 

Although the President has consistently supported abortion and reproductive rights, he has some personal misgivings. He told The New Yorker earlier this month: “I’ve never been supportive of, you know, ‘It’s my body, I can do what I want with it.’”

In his State of the Union address he needled Republicans about restrictions on abortion: “My God, what freedoms will you take away next?” 

However, he departed from his prepared remarks and carefully tiptoed around the word “abortion”. Abortion activists were enraged. “By not saying the word ‘abortion,’ it implies that it’s taboo or something to be ashamed of,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio, told AP. “It’s stigmatizing and harmful. The president should do better.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, Whole Woman’s Health, which manages abortion clinics in several states, said: 

“Abortion is what we provide and what people are being denied. People don’t call us for a reproductive freedom appointment. They don’t ask for a bodily autonomy visit or a choice procedure. They call for abortion care, and abortion is a professional medical term for the health care we provide. Avoiding the word just shows the power of the historical stigma around abortion.”

Donald Trump, who is now the presumptive nominee for the Presidency, has not declared his position on abortion yet. “More and more I’m hearing about 15 weeks. I haven’t decided yet,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. 

According to NBC News, Trump believes that the abortion issue is a weak spot for Republicans. As his running mate, he doesn’t want a politician who takes an “extreme” view on the topic. “He’s concerned it will have a drag on the ticket if they’re seen as holding too staunch a position,” an inside source told NBC.