“The 360” shows you different perspectives on the main stories and debates of the day.
What is up
In the weeks following the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended constitutional protections for abortion, the White House has been heavily criticized by many Democrats for what they see as a lukewarm response from President Biden and his administration.
But Biden has not been silent on the issue. He made a speech shortly after the decision was released and promised to do “everything in my power” to protect access to abortion. A central part of his message, however, was that his authority on the issue is limited. The only way to restore abortion rights across the country, Biden said, is to elect more Democrats to Congress who will pass legislation to do so.
In the days that followed, a number of progressive Democrats and abortion rights activists made the case that the Biden administration lacked a clear plan to respond to Roe’s reversal and was not using the full scope of its powers to protect access to abortion. many groups, , they asked Biden to declare a public health emergency. Others have urged the administration to provide access to abortion on federal lands in states that have banned the procedure. Democratic Sensations Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith arguing that the decision shows the need for broader reforms to the American democratic system, including changes to the composition of the Supreme Court, the end of the Senate filibuster and even a reconsideration of the Electoral College.
While Biden is somewhere in between and to most of these ideas, he said at the end of last month that he to the filibuster — which creates a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to pass — to codify abortion protections. He too Last week he aimed to expand access to abortion pills and legal protections for people who legally obtain or perform abortions. On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance stating federal law when the mother’s life is at risk, regardless of what state law says.
Why there is debate
Despite these actions, Biden’s critics on the left argued that he was too passive when considering the gravity of the court’s decision. While they concede that no president has the power to unilaterally challenge the court’s rulings, they argue that the administration should pull out all the stops to defend access to abortion, even if those moves could be controversial or face legal challenges. Others say the president hasn’t done enough in his speeches and public statements to show pro-abortion-rights voters that he shares their anger — an issue they fear could suppress Democratic turnout in the upcoming midterms. .
But Biden’s defenders say that any perceived shortcomings reflect the limits of his powers, rather than his actions, or lack of them. Some also argue that many of the more aggressive steps — especially the idea of providing abortions on federal lands — would be beyond the scope of his authority or quickly blocked by the Supreme Court. There is also concern that Biden’s “scorched earth” response to the repeal of Roe could threaten the integrity of the Democratic system and alienate the swing voters the party needs to maintain its majority in Congress. .
Although this debate has been mostly among Democrats, some conservatives have argued that even the most limited actions of Biden represent an executive overreach that violates the rights of states to establish and enforce their own laws.
Biden told reporters on Sunday that he supports access to abortion. While in theory that could free up more federal resources, some in the administration believe it would be a largely symbolic gesture with little impact on the ground.
Many of Biden’s progressive critics are asking him to perform miracles
“Most of the things that have angered liberals about President Joe Biden are functions of the underlying political context, not of Biden himself, or of the White House staff, or of Democratic leaders in Congress. This it does not mean that everyone does everything perfectly, but only that any difference between what Biden does and what the plausible democratic alternatives will be marginal. – Jonathan Bernstein,
Biden risks looking foolish if he oversteps his authority
“Obviously, a serious administration doesn’t want to put itself in the position of looking ridiculous with symbolic acts that are impractical or would do very little to address the problem.” – Bill Galston, political scientist, at
Biden gets no credit for his bold response to the repeal of Roe
“There’s just one problem with Joe’s too-cold complaints: Biden has said — accurately and repeatedly — exactly what he’s accused of avoiding.” – Dana Milbank,
Biden understands that no amount of executive action will restore abortion rights
“Executive orders are at best temporary measures – easily reversed by the next president or overturned in court – and often ineffective. As a creature of the Senate, in which he served for more than three decades, Biden prefers to legislate to rule by executive fiat.” – Courtney Subramanian,
America’s democratic institutions are more important than any single political struggle
“I think this is a dangerous game that the Democrats are playing – so they openly convey their intentions – and it increases the peace when the president also says. Il s’est, jusqu’à présent, pris des distances par rapport à ces propositions et s ‘is posed more as a moderate and institutionalist… but when he openly claims it, it becomes the declared position of the Democratic Party. – Kimberley Strassel,
Democrats need to emulate the GOP’s comprehensive legal strategy on abortion
“With Roe in ruins, the president has no choice but to try bold and uncomfortable strategies to preserve as much access to abortion as possible. For decades, the anti-abortion movement has pushed the legal envelope to deny the autonomy of women over their bodies and lives. Abortion rights supporters must be equally resourceful to reduce the damage from their constitutional strike.” – Lawrence Gostin and Duncan Hosie,
There is no excuse for not having a comprehensive plan the moment Roe was repealed
“For the Biden administration to enter office without a clear plan and strategy for this exact situation is bad executive practice. The Republicans were ready to take advantage of the [decision overturning Roe] the moment it came out. Why weren’t the Democrats ready with countermeasures? – Elie Mystal,
The president must be vocally defensive a long-term plan to counter the conservative majority of the court
“Democrats have to give their base something to vote for. Such an answer could be a plan to fix the court — one that goes beyond the restoration of Roe v. That may require years, even decades, of work, but if liberals need inspiration, they can look to the decades-long effort the right mounted to overturn Roe.” – Ezra Klein,
Although small, the effort to defend abortion rights matters
“We are in a crisis and we need fighters – we need people with energy and ideas. … We know very well that restoring national access to abortion will not be easy, but we need leaders who at least TRY. – Arwa Mahdawi ,
Biden lost a great political opportunity for the Democrats
“For Democrats going into the midterms, overturning Roe v. Wade should be a classic wedge issue. The abortion issue not only unifies the Democratic base, it creates a wedge between fundamentalists and the rest of the base of the GOP that is not so passionate about the politics of prod. … Instead, however, President Joe Biden is doing the opposite. The president is letting the issue of abortion divide the Democrats while the Republican voters they can ignore their own responsibility to allow the overturning of Roe. – Amanda Marcotte,
It’s insulting to tell people to go vote when that’s what they’ve already done
“The message boils down to if you want to see the protections, rights and freedoms that were taken away by six extremists on the Supreme Court restored, vote for the Democrats this November. While the message is accurate, it is insufficient. It also flies in face the reality of the last two years. The truth is that people voted. In record numbers in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.” – Doug Gordon,
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