Joe Biden Doesn't Really Support Abortion Rights
A simple explanation for why the White House response to the end of Roe has been so terrible.
On Thursday morning, Joe Biden finally did the bare minimum and spoke out in favor of modifying the Senate filibuster to ensure the passage of abortion rights legislation.
It took Biden nearly a week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade to make this announcement, and it appears as though he will not be going much further anytime soon. As Reuters reported on Wednesday, the White House has privately rejected taking aggressive steps to protect abortion rights, including opening abortion clinics on federal lands or reforming the Supreme Court (emphasis mine):
Biden and officials are concerned that more radical moves would be politically polarizing ahead of November's midterm elections, undermine public trust in institutions like the Supreme Court or lack strong legal footing, sources inside and outside the White House say.
What’s more, Biden is gearing up to help anti-abortion judges gain even more of a foothold in the federal courts. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Wednesday that Biden plans to nominate Chad Meredith, a staunch anti-abortion lawyer, to a seat on the federal bench, as part of a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to smooth the path for other Biden nominees. Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth’s office then confirmed to multiple outlets that the White House had informed him of Meredith’s imminent nomination. And on Thursday, the Courier-Journal reported that a slot for Meredith could be opening up soon.
Helping an anti-abortion freak get a lifetime judicial appointment a week after Roe falls—it’s not the best look, is it?
There are many theories flying around right now about why the Biden White House has been so slow and tentative to react to the seismic demolition of abortion rights, and why it could do something as gross as nominating an abortion opponent to anything right now. Most of them center around Biden’s inherent institutionalism, caution, and small-c conservative approach to politics. While this is undoubtedly part of the problem (imagine being concerned about undermining the image of the Supreme Court right now! Insanity!) I think we’re not talking enough about what could be a very basic part of the problem: Joe Biden does not really support abortion rights.
I don’t mean that he doesn’t support them publicly, at least in 2022—he knows you have to support abortion rights if you want to be a national Democratic candidate these days. I mean that he doesn’t support them privately, and that this is a key part of why he won’t fight as hard for them as people want him to.
The evidence for this is everywhere you look.
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