David Closson is Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council. This article appeared in WORLD Magazine on May 5, 2023.
The president, once a centrist on the issue, has become a pro-abortion zealot
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden officially announced his campaign for re-election. Regardless of who Biden’s eventual opponent will be, the 2024 presidential campaign is guaranteed to be historic, as the incumbent will be running on the most pro-abortion platform in American history.
President Biden’s support for abortion is well-documented. He actually started his long political career as a centrist on the issue. In 1974, then-Sen. Biden told a reporter that a woman should not have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body,” and in 1982, he voted in favor of an amendment that would have allowed states to overturn Roe v. Wade. But Biden, like his party, has shifted dramatically in a pro-abortion direction.
For decades, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment that prohibits taxpayer funds from paying for abortions. He even voted in favor of the partial-birth abortion ban, but as a presidential candidate, Biden tacked hard to the left in the 2020 Democratic primary. Since that time, he has pursued increasingly aggressive pro-abortion policies.
Two days after taking office in January 2021, President Biden observed the 48th anniversary of Roe by describing the decision as a “foundational precedent” to which all judicial nominees should commit. That same month, Biden issued an executive order that repealed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, which prohibited global health funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion.
He also withdrew the United States from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a 34-country agreement that declared abortion is not an international human right. In March 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the administration’s plan to repeal the rule that prevented family planning funds from going to organizations or clinics that performed abortions or provided abortion referrals.
Other notable actions include the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to file suit in September 2021 against Texas over the Texas Heartbeat Act, a pro-life bill that the courts had allowed to go into effect. Additionally, the White House issued a statement supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that would enshrine a right to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy into federal law. Following the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, President Biden gave a speech supporting abortion. He is now the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history.
Predictably, following the handing down of the Dobbs decision that overruled Roe in June 2022, the president denounced the Court’s decision, claiming it “casts a dark shadow over a large swath of the land.” A few days later, the president called for an exception to the Senate filibuster in order to codify a right to abortion. In July 2022, the president issued an executive order that contained directives to convene volunteer lawyers to sue against pro-life legislation and convene an interagency task force to promote abortion. In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced an unprecedented policy allowing its facilities to perform and pay for veterans’ abortions.
In addition to official administrative policy, President Biden has wielded the bully pulpit of the presidency to champion abortion. Following the Dobbs decision, the president tweeted to his tens of millions of followers on Twitter: “It’s a sad day for the country. Nearly 50 years ago, Roe vs. Wade was decided. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people. Personal freedoms are on the ballot this fall.”
In the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections, Biden repeatedly emphasized his commitment to abortion, promising: “If you give me two more Democratic senators, and Democrats keep the House, I promise you we will codify Roe v. Wade. We will once again make Roe the law of the land.” In fact, Biden promised again and again and again and again that codifying Roe would be his first priority in the new Congress if Democrats retained the House and expanded their Senate majority.
In a relatively short time, the Biden administration has secured its place as the most energetic, forceful defender of abortion in the nation’s history. The president has made it clear through executive orders, statements of administrative policy, personnel appointments, and personal advocacy that expanding access to abortion is among his top priorities.
Thus, it is unsurprising that abortion was featured in his official re-election video released on April 25. One of the video’s first images—a woman outside the Supreme Court building holding a sign that says “Abortion is healthcare”—makes it clear that Biden intends to campaign on the issue.
In short order, the 2024 presidential campaign will be upon us. Although there will undoubtedly be twists and turns over the next 18 months, one thing is sure: Joe Biden is running for president as a champion of abortion.