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Home HEALTH Abortion is a 'freedom' issue for Biden and the Democrats

Abortion is a ‘freedom’ issue for Biden and the Democrats

WASHINGTON– As President Joe Biden sees it, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade was not just about whether a woman has the right to have an abortion.

“This is about freedom,” Biden said at a private fundraiser in New York last week.

Vice President Kamala Harris takes an even bigger focus when she talks about abortion. “So-called extremist leaders peddle the rhetoric of freedom while taking away freedoms,” she told voters in Illinois this month.

That deliberate echo of “freedom” from Biden, Harris and other top White House officials shows how Democrats, eager to keep abortion top of mind heading into the November election, at the highest ranks are increasingly co-opting traditionally conservative rhetoric into a forceful appeal. to a wide swath of the electorate.

White House aides believe the message is particularly powerful, especially when combined with repeated reminders about the GOP’s abortion proposals, which often do not include rape or maternal health exceptions that are popular with Americans. voters. The message of freedom also resonates, officials say, as access to birth control and abortion medications is under threat in Republican-controlled states.

Now more than ever, Democrats are leaning on the messaging strategy of abortion rights groups, which have long advised candidates and elected officials to talk about reproductive rights as if they were part of the Tea Party. , the conservative movement that made its mark in 2010. campaign against government overreach. It’s a playbook that succeeded in August, when opponents of a Kansas initiative that would have allowed greater restrictions on abortion successfully instilled an anti-government mandate message in voters and on the airwaves.

Organizations that support abortion rights say research shows that framing the issue as a question of freedom is by far the most effective message to voters of all political persuasions. For example, when participants in focus groups convened by NARAL Pro-Choice America were shown articles about abortion restrictions, they often became angry and insisted that the freedom to make personal decisions without political interference was an American value. fundamental.

The message, strategists say, may work even with Republican voters. In a July Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 32% of Republicans said that after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June that they believe Congress should guarantee the right to a legal abortion.

“Fundamentally, particularly now after Dobbs, in a post-Roe America, going back to the fundamental liberty guaranteed by constitutional law…is a really powerful way to talk about this issue,” Mini Timmaraju, NARAL Pro-Choice President America, he said in an interview.

Since the Supreme Court ruled in June that it struck down the constitutional right to abortion, Republican candidates in the most battleground districts and states have sought to downplay the issue, while Democrats across the country have made it a central part of their attempt to retain control of Congress. Republicans still say the November election will be contested on political terrain focused on the economy and Biden’s standing with the public, though Democrats believe their voters, fueled by anger over abortion, are far more motivated to vote. this autumn.

“Democrats are pushing a taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand agenda that most voters disagree with, while ignoring skyrocketing prices, rising crime and the border crisis they created,” said Danielle Alvarez, director of communications for the Republican National Committee. . “Voters will be voting for freedom this November, freedom from the failed one-party Democratic government.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., who recently proposed a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, has repeatedly argued that his plan is good policy for Republicans and that his party should tell the public that Democrats they support few, if any. , access restrictions to the procedure.

“Let’s talk about this in terms of human rights and personal freedom,” he told the AP. “The Democratic Party is on track to support a North Korean and Chinese abortion policy. They’re not exactly in the column of personal freedom.”

Mallory Carroll, vice president of communications for SBA Pro-Life America, said, “Abortion is the opposite of freedom. It is an egregious violation of human rights that harms two people: the murdered baby and the mother.”

Still, mentions of abortion and the fate of reproductive rights have become a staple of Biden’s political speeches as he ramps up his election campaign. A Catholic once seen by advocates as a flawed messenger of abortion rights, Biden even referenced his faith last week when he described some Republican-created restrictions as extreme.

Abortion was a fixture during Biden’s two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in New York, as well as at a rally Friday at the National Education Association headquarters in Washington, where he stressed that the election offered give voters choices on a variety of issues, from abortion and guns to democracy. Biden’s political calendar continues Tuesday in Florida, a state that has become more Republican in recent years.

Biden also emphasized the message of freedom at a reception in Detroit this month when he spoke about the Michigan governor. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has focused her re-election message on abortion rights.

“Republicans want a national abortion ban,” Biden said. “Gretchen supports the ballot initiative to include the right to reproductive freedom in her state’s constitution.” Michigan voters will decide this fall whether to enshrine abortion access in the state constitution.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly invokes the word as she enacts abortion restrictions across the country, including Idaho, Texas, Tennessee and Indiana. And at a meeting of Democratic attorneys general in Milwaukee, Harris stressed Thursday that a woman and those around her should be the ones making the decision about an abortion.

“The government shouldn’t be making that decision for her,” Harris said.

While party candidates from New Hampshire to Florida to Nevada have carried the message of freedom in their campaigns this fall, Democrats in some prominent races have taken the anti-government issue to a new level.

An ad published last week by Rep. Chris Pappas, DN.H., who is in one of the hottest House races, stated emphatically that “here in New Hampshire, we keep government out of our homes and outside of our doctors’ offices.” offices,” as he warned about the anti-abortion views of his Republican rival, Karoline Leavitt.

“If Karoline Leavitt has her way, it will not be a woman’s choice. It will be the government’s decision, ”said the announcement at its closing. In response, Leavitt said that Democrats were “extremists who believe in taxpayer-funded abortions up to the point of birth” and that state legislatures were responsible for abortion policies, not Washington.

At a campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire, last week, Sen. Maggie Hassan, DN.H., warned that the Supreme Court “has taken away the freedom of half the population, the freedom that most women have known all their lives. If her opponent, Republican Don Bolduc, were elected, those freedoms would continue to be reversed, she argued.

A Bolduc campaign spokeswoman accused Hassan of wanting to distract from issues such as home heating bills and the economy. But Hassan, in a brief interview with AP, insisted that he could do both.

“My constituents have to deal with inflation and a threat to their reproductive freedom all at the same time,” he said. “They hope we can do the same.”


Follow the AP for full coverage of the midterm elections on and on Twitter,—politics

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