Biden faces mounting pressure on abortion ahead of budget battle, SCOTUS case

Supreme Court to hear Mississippi abortion case challenging Roe v. Wade

Fox News chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream breaks down the case on ‘The Story’

President Biden is facing mounting pressure from both sides of the abortion debate as the federal government prepares to make potentially game-changing decisions on the issue.

Although then-candidate Biden reversed his decades-old position on the Hyde Amendment, observers noted a relative silence on abortion during the presidential race. That concern reportedly extended into the start of his administration as groups like Planned Parenthood sought more vocal advocacy from him and Vice President Harris.

Five months into his presidency, the stakes are even higher as the Supreme Court has decided to take up an abortion ban that many fear could be used to sever long-standing protections on access. The court’s 6-3 conservative majority has liberals worried as Biden weighs packing the court with his own justices.

“The level of the crisis calls for a stronger level of leadership,” Robinson reportedly said. “We’re looking for them to be explicit champions for sexual and reproductive health care and to use that bully pulpit to make sure that’s a priority that’s expressed from the highest office in the land.”

The National Women’s Law Center’s Gretchen Borchelt similarly claimed Biden hadn’t provided the type of “transformational” leadership she was looking for on the issue.

“It’s a different world from when he was vice president, and so far we haven’t felt that recognition of urgency from this administration,” she said.

Since the Obama administration, federal courts have been flooded with a series of Trump appointees that are seen as a threat to abortion access. State legislatures have also implemented or passed a long list of abortion restrictions that progressives fear would gut Roe without overturning the decision itself.

Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe, the issue would return to the states – including those with trigger laws automatically outlawing the procedure in the event of such a decision. Although the Biden White House reportedly hasn’t said “abortion” as much as supporters would like, he has committed to what anti-abortion advocates consider a radical step toward ensuring access: codifying Roe v. Wade.

While Roe legalized abortion early in a pregnancy, it left open exceptions for life and health of the mother at later gestational ages. And the decision in Doe v. Bolton, released on the same day in 1973 as Roe v. Wade, argued that life and health of the mother encompassed a wide range of reasons.

Adding to the tension, Biden is expected to submit his budget proposal Friday in a first test of whether he’ll hold true to his commitment to repealing Hyde, which blocks most federal funding for the procedure. Both codifying Roe and repealing Hyde will likely face uphill battles in the Senate, where 50 Republican seats are tied with 50 from Democrats and their independent allies. 

During a briefing last week, the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, an anti-abortion group, also worried about Democrats seeking to axe the filibuster – a move that would make repealing Hyde and passing other progressive measures much easier. 

Hyde isn’t the only hindrance to abortion funding either. SBA List Legislative Director Jamie Dangers warned that the upcoming appropriations battle could cover a range of Hyde-related measures. “It’s not just Hyde that’s under attack. There is a whole patchwork that goes together with Hyde,” said Dangers.

Among them is the Helms, Siljander, Dornan (funding in D.C.), Smith, Dickie Wicker, and Hyde-Weldon amendments. House Democrats introduced a bill in March to repeal Helms, which prevents foreign assistance from flowing to overseas abortion.

Besides politicians, the president will likely face continual pressure from Catholic clergy who have repeatedly disavowed his position on the issue. 

As Fox News previously noted, the Catholic Church has overwhelmingly denounced abortion and argued that politicians should do the same. But more recently, Biden’s faced heightened pressure for receiving communion while supporting fetal tissue research and abortion access.

“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in a pastoral letter released earlier this month. Although he didn’t mention Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., by name, the letter effectively put the spotlight on both of them. 

“[P]lease stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil – one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right – is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith,” Cordileone said. 

Meanwhile, the White House has maintained that Biden is a “devout” Catholic who disagrees with the Church on same-sex unions and fetal tissue research.

Since Cordileone’s statement, the Vatican has urged caution on excluding politicians from communion and U.S. bishops are expected to hold a vote on the issue.

Some lay groups like CatholicVote have piled onto the criticism. 

In response to the Times’ report, CatholicVote tweeted: The ‘Shout My Abortion’ movement now runs the Democratic Party, and they’re growing impatient with the word malarkey. They say it’s time for Biden to proudly use the ‘a’ word, ‘without apology.'”

A follow up tweet read: “For Catholics, abortion is not a left-right issue. It’s nothing less than the intentional destruction of innocent life.”  

Biden, the perceived moderate among 2020 Democrats, has to balance the demands of his base with both his public image as a Catholic and the popularity of abortion restrictions with the public. 

“In his budget, Biden is expected to make good on his campaign promise to end long-standing bipartisan policy that protects taxpayers from funding domestic abortions, a position he flip-flopped on during the campaign, reversing his more than three-decade support of Hyde protection,” said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association.

“This is both unpopular with mainstream America and yet another expression of Biden’s hostility toward Catholics who are committed to protecting innocent human life.” 

While polling has shown support for Roe v. Wade, it’s historically revealed Americans’ aversion to later-term abortions. In May, for example, Gallup found that 50% of voters thought abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances, as opposed to any circumstances (29%) or none (20%). That reflected Gallup’s historical data as well. And while a plurality say abortion is “immoral,” moderates (55%) tend to identify as pro-choice.

Source: Read Full Article