President Joe Biden on Thursday said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has energized women across the country, with midterm elections now only a few months away.
“Republicans have awakened a powerful force in this nation: women,” Biden said during a speech at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in Maryland.
“Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women, not a clue,” he continued.
Seventeen states have already outlawed, severely restricted or stopped offering abortions in the wake of the court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. That has left about 17 million people with limited or no access to the medical procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
Medical groups are sounding the alarm, warning that patients could suffer “irreparable harm” due to the confusing legal landscape following Roe’s reversal, citing reports of health providers putting caution about the law over health care concerns.
The outcome of the November elections will determine whether abortion will be curtailed in more states, Biden said.
“That means in just weeks and months, more than half of America will have banned abortion if we don’t win this off-year election,” he said, adding that if the GOP wins the majority in both chambers, it will seek to pass a national abortion ban.
Republicans running in the midterms appear worried about losing momentum following Biden’s string of legislative victories over the summer, and concerned about political backlash to the Roe decision. Some have even removed abortion references from their campaign websites.
The president warned abortion is not the only right at stake if Republicans gain power.
“If they had their way, they’d come after the contraception and marriage equality, the whole right to privacy,” Biden said.
The abortion decision raised fears that the court’s conservative majority could also overturn marriage equality. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion to the Dobbs case, said justices should reconsider other cases that rest on the right to privacy — specifically cases protecting contraception access and same-sex relationships.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said he will bring a bill codifying same-sex marriage equality to the floor “in the coming weeks.” The House has already passed similar legislation.
Biden also called out GOP lawmakers for voting against the Inflation Reduction Act — the massive Democratic bill he signed into law last month — which includes provisions to lower the costs of prescription drugs and increase investments in renewable energy.
“Now every single American needs to return the favor and vote them out of office,” Biden said.
In recent weeks, Biden has struck a more forceful tone to draw a contrast between himself and the GOP, slamming former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement as “semi-fascism” and calling out Republican hypocrisy.