Though his position on abortion has been far from consistent throughout his career, President Joe Biden has responded to the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a Texas statute imposing strict limits on the procedure by effectively declaring war on state attempts to enforce a law duly enacted by its legislature, seemingly putting other current crises on the back burner, as A.J. Kaufman of P J Media notes.
The high court’s 5-4 decision not to interfere with the Texas law, arguably the strongest anti-abortion measure in the country, led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth among Democrats everywhere, and Biden immediately entered the fray to declare the statute “extreme” and an “unprecedented assault on women’s constitutional rights,” according to Fox News.
Indeed, the president announced that he would initiate a “whole-of-government” attack on Texas’ ability to enforce the restrictions contained in the aforementioned law, directing the Office of White House Counsel as well as his Gender Policy Council to work collaboratively with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department to explore all “legal tools…to insulate women and providers from the impact” of the legislation.
Biden’s full-bore approach in response to the Texas law is a curious case study in political expediency, as Kaufman notes, particularly given the varied positions the president has taken on abortion throughout his decades in Washington.
Last week, when lambasting the Texas restrictions on abortion, Biden said he does not believe that human life begins at the moment of conception, marking a stark contrast to his stance in 2015, when he stated, “I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being.”
That was not the first public reversal from Biden with regard to abortion, as evidenced by the intellectual contortions he undertook during his presidential campaign to go from supporting the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for such procedures, to declaring to a group of high-dollar Democrat donors that he could “no longer support” it.
Why, Kaufman wonders, does Biden now have such tunnel vision about mounting a hyperbolic and overzealous quest to thwart abortion restrictions in Texas, particularly given the other crises – Afghanistan, the southern border, COVID-19 to name a few – encircling the White House?
The answer, Kaufman posits, is the fact that whereas the left typically remains in lockstep when it comes to matters such as voting rights, social programs, and the like, there is no such consensus among Democrats when it comes to abortion, and that could pose problems for the party in the near future if the rank and file aren’t scared into falling in line.
Furthermore, Biden may simply be placing a cynical bet that by portraying the Texas law — however dishonestly — as an existential threat to the rights of women that requires an immediate, all-hands-on-deck strategy, he can sufficiently distract the electorate from the mounting disasters that continue to unfold on his watch.