Biden and Harris Are Making Abortion a Defining Election Issue

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Abortion rights are shaping up to be a defining election issue for the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign.

On Monday, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Biden announced new measures to support access to abortion, and Vice President Harris kicked off a months-long Fight For Reproductive Freedoms tour in Wisconsin. She will travel around the country sharing her commitment to protecting reproductive freedoms, and hearing from patients, healthcare providers, faith leaders, students, and voters.

“On this day and every day, Vice President Harris and I are fighting to protect women’s reproductive freedom,” Biden said in a statement. “Even as Americans—from Ohio to Kentucky to Michigan to Kansas to California—have resoundingly rejected attempts to limit reproductive freedom, Republican elected officials continue to push for a national ban and devastating new restrictions across the country. We stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose, and continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe in federal law once and for all.”

Also Monday, at a meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access convened by the president, members will announce action to strengthen access to contraception for women with private health insurance, and support expanded coverage of a broader range of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

The Department of Health and Human Services will issue guidance for patients experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, to help them better understand their rights under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Under federal law, emergency rooms are required to provide medically necessary care, which includes abortion in some circumstances, according to a memo released by the White House.

The same memo detailed a HHS plan “to educate all patients about their rights,” create “training materials for healthcare providers,” and “establish a dedicated team of experts to help ensure that every patient receives the emergency medical care required under federal law.”

Senior White House officials tell Glamour that abortion access is “a cornerstone issue for the rest of the year.”

The same officials also highlighted that protecting reproductive freedoms is part of a broader set of administration goals that also encompass improving access to affordable childcare, and paid leave—which Glamour has been campaigning to pass.

“On paid leave, the president talks about the unfinished business, the work that we need to do to finish the job—and paid leave is at the top of that list,” a White House official said. “This has been an issue that has been a long-standing commitment of the president, and he's going to continue to fight for it.”

Administration officials were keen to highlight that protecting people’s right to abortion goes hand in hand with supporting those who also choose to have a family.

“We should recognize that it is a little bit odd to take the position that you are eliminating the right of women to control their bodies and to control their reproductive decisions, and also choosing to remain one of the few countries in the world where you do not offer paid leave," they said. "Republicans want women to have children, but they do not want to support them or provide any support to them when they have children.”

It remains to be seen whether the heavy focus on abortion, reproductive rights and family policies will deliver Biden the votes he will need in what is likely to be a bitterly contested presidential election. But there is no doubt he and his officials believe—passionately—it is absolutely the right path to take.

Read Senator Elizabeth Warren's exclusive op ed, on the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade here.

Originally Appeared on Glamour