President Joe Biden on Friday finally delivered the passion and fury many abortion rights activists have been longing to see from the White House since the Supreme Court gutted abortion rights late last month.
Invoking the words "extreme" and "extremist" no less than 17 times, the president decried Republican efforts to strip Americans of abortion and other privacy rights at a signing ceremony for executive actions designed to safeguard access to reproductive care.
America, Biden explained, was at a crossroads.
“We cannot allow an out-of-control Supreme Court, working in conjunction with extremist elements of the Republican Party, to take away freedoms and our personal autonomy,” Biden said from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. "The choice we face as a nation is between the mainstream and the extreme, between moving forward and moving backwards, between allowing politicians to enter the most personal parts of our lives and protecting the right to privacy — yes, yes — embedded in our Constitution.”
"This is the moment," he continued, "to protect our nation from an extremist agenda that is antithetical to everything we believe as Americans."
Biden told the tragic story of a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who had to travel across state lines to get an abortion because of Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban.
“She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life,” Biden recounted. “Ten years old — 10 years old! — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.”
Biden also gave a scathing critique of the high court's ruling—a decision, he said, that wasn't rooted in the Constitution or in history, but rather was a partisan power grab.
"What we’re witnessing wasn’t a constitutional judgment. It was an exercise in raw political power," Biden charged.
He further criticized the court for playing "fast and loose with the facts" of the case and said the ruling was driven by a "deep, long-seething antipathy" towards Roe and broader privacy rights.
Quoting from the dissent offered by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Biden said, “The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them.”
President Biden also got specific about what he needs from voters in order to pass a federal law guaranteeing abortion rights nationwide.
"We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality," Biden said, urging Americans to swarm the polls this fall and reverse the injustice the high court has visited upon the country.
Biden also called it "extraordinary" that the majority challenged women to register their rage at the polls. “Women are not without electoral or political power," Biden said, quoting a passage from the ruling. Riffing off that thought, Biden offered, "It’s my hope and strong belief that women will, in fact, turn out in record numbers to reclaim the rights that have taken from them by the Court."
Likewise, Biden reminded Americans that things could go the other way, with Republicans gaining power and imposing a national ban on the procedure.
"The Court’s decision has also been received by Republicans in Congress as a green light to go further and pass a national ban. A national ban," the president repeated, noting that congressional Republicans are already discussing the prospect.
"That will mean the right to choose will be illegal nationwide if, in fact, they succeed," he added, issuing a veto threat. "As long as I’m President, it won’t happen, because I’ll veto it."
But ultimately, the president said the final verdict will rest with Americans.
"If you want to change the circumstances for women and even little girls in this country, please go out and vote," he urged. "The challenge is: Go out and vote. Well, for God’s sake, there’s an election in November. Vote, vote, vote, vote.
Consider the challenge accepted, Court."