Biden, Florida Democrats Rebuke State’s New Abortion Restrictions

Biden, Florida Democrats Rebuke State’s New Abortion Restrictions
President Joe Biden speaks about abortion in Tampa, Fla., on April 23, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden made a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida, on April 23 and further emphasized how important he sees it to protect abortion and other related matters at a time when nearly half of states have passed a strict ban on abortion.

Speaking at Hillsborough Community College, he rallied an enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 supporters to get out and vote for the abortion amendment to Florida’s state constitution that will be on the ballot in November. He also asked them to vote for a Democratic congress in order to restore Roe v. Wade as “the law of the land.”

“Donald Trump stripped the right away from women in America,” he said. “It will be all of us who restore those rights of women in America.”

President Biden’s speech followed several from pro-choice female leaders, such as the CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Alexis McGill Johnson, and Tampa congresswoman Kathy Castor. They bestowed all credit for the collapse of abortion access across the country on former President Donald Trump and the “MAGA Republicans,” referring to President Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Donald Trump said, “Leave it to the states,” Ms. Castor said. “We’ve seen what happens when you ‘leave it to the states.'”

She highlighted Florida’s upcoming ban on abortion after six weeks of gestation as an example of what happens when the decision is left to the states. She called it “the cruelest, most extreme abortion ban” and said it was essentially a “complete ban because a woman often doesn’t know that she’s pregnant at six weeks.”

The congresswoman showed Arizona’s standing law from 1864 as another example before bringing it back home to say, “Governor [Ron] DeSantis and the extremists in the Florida legislature are taking this backward as well.”

She also said that because of the new law that she had spoken with “talented med students” who wanted to train in Florida but are going to go to another state “where they can get the full range of training.”

“If we do not have the talented doctors that have the full range of training to act in a medical emergency to save lives, it makes it more dangerous for all of us,” she said.

President Biden was introduced by Kaitlyn Joshua from Louisiana, who shared her personal experience struggling with getting treatment for a miscarriage because it was the same treatment as an abortion.

The president arrived in Tampa a week before Florida’s ban goes into effect. At the same time, the state’s voters prepare to decide on a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect abortion as a right. And speakers pointed out that in all of the states that have put abortion to a vote, like Ohio, abortion measures have passed.

“In the last two years, millions have strived for reproductive freedom, every political party, every race, every religion, and across generations and everywhere where abortion is put on the ballot,” said Ms. McGill Johnson, who said that restrictions on abortion were an attack on equality.

“Every time they put a law like this on the books, what they are really telling us is that they do not trust us,” she said. “What they are really telling us is that we are not equal; that is the audacity of our equality that offends them.”

Constitutional amendments in Florida require at least a 60 percent vote in favor.

President Biden and his fellow speakers called out and criticized President Trump for “bragging” about having Roe v. Wade overturned by the Dobbs decision during his term. Biden-Harris campaign communications director Michael Tyler previously credited that decision to “Trump’s Supreme Court Justices.”

The Supreme Court was wrong, President Biden told the Tampa crowd. It’s not about states’ rights, it’s about women’s rights.

They insisted that the Republican and his allies would not stop until a federal abortion ban was passed.

President Trump has said on numerous occasions recently that he does not support a nationwide ban on abortion but that he wants to give the power to states to decide. The Biden campaign continues to accuse him of trying “to dodge or double talk on this issue.”

“President Biden used his executive authority to marshal a whole-of-government response working to defend medication, abortion, and emergency care, to expand access to contraception, [and] protect the privacy of women and doctors.” Mr. Tyler said.

President Biden also took a moment to reiterate his plan to make community colleges free in his second term, and during an informal campaign reception with Florida Democratic Party and former Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried he echoed his intention to have billionaires pay more taxes, and the necessity of the United States to retain its role in the world.

“We are the essential nation,” he said. “It’s not a joke, not bragging. If the United States stepped off the world stage like Trump wants us to, who would lead the world?”

Winning Florida

Florida has tilted more and more Republican over the course of President Biden’s first term. Gov. Ron DeSantis won re-election by a significantly higher margin than his first term and flipped Miami-Dade County in the process. Florida’s primary election also saw several Democrat-controlled local offices, like county commissions, mayorships, and city council seats, turned over to Republicans.

The GOP also outnumbers Democrats in terms of registered voters by nearly 900,000 Floridians—the first time they have held this advantage since 1972, when this data was first collected—until 2021.

However, the Biden campaign insists that Florida is winnable without focusing on abortion alone.

Mr. Tyler said, “Extreme MAGA Republicans made Florida the blueprint for their toxic and losing agenda.”

“Republicans in the state have attacked Social Security,” he said. “They’ve made it easier for criminals to carry guns. They’ve banned books, re-written history that said black people benefited from slavery, and attacked our most vulnerable communities.”

President Biden also invited Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) challenger, Former state Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, to speak, and both she and Ms. Castor criticized Mr. Scott for his allegiance to President Trump in attacking social security and attempting to roll back Medicare.

“I believe that Florida is worth fighting for,” she said. “That’s why my colleagues and I fight for you in Tallahassee and every year. We fight against the MAGA extremists and the culture wars. We fight so that every Floridian has the freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. And you don’t believe that Florida is worth fighting for?”

Ms. Castor said that she sees President Biden’s path to victory goes through Tampa Bay.

“It cannot be overstated how unpopular the MAGA Republican agenda is in the state of Florida,” Mr. Tyler said, who insisted President Biden’s agenda “resonates with Florida.” “We’ve seen it play out for years at this point. And so this campaign’s posture reflects the seriousness with which we’re taking Florida.”

From The Epoch Times

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