How Biden and Trump Switched Sides on Abortion
Both the current president Biden and former president Trump have become unlikely heroes and have switched sides on Abortion. But they did not start out there. Around the turn of the 21st century, two future presidents spoke out about abortion.
“I’m very pro-choice,” then-real estate businessman Donald Trump said in a 1999 interview on “Meet the Press,” attributing his views to “a little bit of a New York background.”
During the same time, Joe Biden, who was a Democratic senator from Delaware at the time, was not sure how he felt about the issue. In 1999, Biden also voted to support Roe v. Wade. During that time, he also voted to keep a rule that said American military women couldn’t use their own money to get abortions in military hospitals overseas. In 1977, Biden voted against a compromise that would have paid for abortions through Medicaid if they were caused by rape, incest, or if the mother’s life was in danger.
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Before he ran for president in 2019, he backed the Hyde amendment, which said that federal money couldn’t be used to pay for abortions.
Both Trump and Biden Have Changed Their Minds on Abortion
In 2022, both of these men have become unlikely heroes for the other side. Trump was the most important person when the Supreme Court, which now has one-third of its members chosen by Trump, took away the 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion.
And Biden, who was clearly angry about the decision, gave a passionate speech in which he promised to use his position to help women get abortions in states where they are illegal. And he asked voters to help him get a Congress that will make the right law all over the country.
“Let’s be very clear: The health and lives of women in this nation are now at risk,” Biden said, displaying 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.
The ruling “made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world,” the president said. But “this decision must not be the final word. My administration will use all appropriate and lawful power” to help women seeking an abortion, “but Congress must act. With your vote, you can act,” he added. “You can have the final word. This is not over.”
Polls show that a large majority of Americans support abortion rights. For many Americans, Friday was like seeing the death of a friend with a terminal illness who they knew would die soon. People mostly knew the ruling was coming because a leaked opinion explained why a right that the high court had set up in 1993 should be taken away. But it was still a gut punch.
Sonia Ossorio, head of the National Organization for Women in New York, says, “It was like a death.”
And if Trump hadn’t been elected president in 2016, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Trump was the first person to run for president without any military or political experience. He used his skills in marketing and branding to win over key parts of the GOP base.
According to exit polls, 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump while only 16 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. This helped put Trump over the top in key states.
Cannot overstate just how far left Biden has moved on abortion
Even in 2006, Biden was saying things like “I do not view abortion as a choice and a right, I think it’s always a tragedy.”pic.twitter.com/cGKIhiTmcz https://t.co/pTfERnEWig
— Zach Parkinson (@AZachParkinson) June 24, 2022
Barbara Perry, an expert on presidents and the Supreme Court who works at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, says, “In a way, they both switched.”
She says that for Biden, it was “a change.” Biden was a devout Catholic who had lost a baby in a car accident. He was against abortion, and his voting record showed that he felt this way.
But since then, times and attitudes toward women have changed, and Biden is now married to Jill Biden, who was the first first lady to have a job outside of the White House. Perry says this has made Biden a strong supporter of abortion rights.
Perry says that Trump’s change was a matter of business.
“He’s just a gross opportunist. He said what he had to say to get the Republican nomination “Perry says.
Biden, who was in the Oval Office when the decision was made and made changes to a draught speech he had written in case the decision went against him, said on Friday that there wasn’t much he could do to make the decision less bad. The president said he would tell the Health and Human Services Department to make sure that “critical medicines” like the abortion pill are “available as much as possible.”
The White House also said it would fight any attempts by states to stop women from going to another state to get an abortion.
But, Biden said, the truth is that only Congress can vote to make law what was in the now-defunct Roe decision.
With Biden’s low popularity and midterm trends that don’t help the party in power, Democrats could lose control of the House and possibly the Senate this fall. If that happened, there would be almost no chance that Congress would do anything to make abortion legal. Abortion rights activists worry that if a Republican was president, the GOP Congress would ban all abortions, even in states that are now voting to keep abortion access because of the new Supreme Court ruling.
Democrats hope that the abortion issue will get people who don’t want Republicans in charge but aren’t sure if they want to go to the polls to vote. Friday, a lot of Democratic candidates said that if they were elected, they would fight for abortion rights.
In the past, people who were against abortion were better at getting people to the polls. This may have been because people who supported abortion rights were too sure that Roe wouldn’t be overturned. Democratic operatives think that the ruling on Friday could change that.
“Centering abortion access in our messaging ahead of this midterm cycle is critical to mobilizing voters against the pressing threat Republicans pose to both reproductive rights and democracy,” says Danielle Butterfield, executive director of the Democratic SuperPAC Priorities USA. “The threat of Republican extremism has only grown since 2020 and we’ll be reminding voters of exactly that to drive them to the polls.”
Ossorio thinks women will vote in November to show how they feel about the decision made on Friday.
“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 galvanizing moment. There isn’t any energy for politeness or stepping aside as we’re ‘supposed’ to do. Women are very focused now.”
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