The 2nd Anniversary of Dobbs Decision Spurs Biden Campaign Advocates Lineup

By: Jordan Meadows

Staff Writer

Monday marked the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. This ruling overturned the long-standing precedent on abortion laws set by Roe v. Wade. On Friday morning in Raleigh, the Biden campaign orchestrated a press conference that made abortion access a central issue.

Democrats strategically linked former President Donald Trump to the Dobbs decision in a bid to energize voter turnout for November. During the event, Governor Roy Cooper and U.S. Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Valerie Foushee (NC-04) criticized Trump, portraying him as the driving force behind the Dobbs ruling. Trump has boasted about his role, attributing it to his appointments of three Supreme Court justices who aligned with the majority decision.

“We broke Roe v. Wade. And we did something that nobody thought was possible: we gave it back to the States. And the states are working very brilliantly — in some cases conservative, in some cases not conservative — but they’re working and it’s working the way it’s supposed to,” Trump said.

Governor Cooper condemned the consequences of the Dobbs decision, asserting, “By overturning Roe v. Wade, Donald Trump unleashed extreme abortion bans across the country that are putting women’s lives at risk and threatening doctors with jail.”

“And it’s not just abortion access that he would ban…in the last month, Trump’s right-wing allies in the U.S. Senate blocked the right to contraception. Extreme Republicans in several states are standing against access to fertility treatments,” Cooper continued.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, fourteen states under Republican control have enacted total abortion bans with certain exceptions. Three others prohibit the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy, often before detection is feasible. North Carolina, for instance, recently marked the first anniversary of Senate Bill 20, which restricts abortions after 12 weeks: later in pregnancy than most Southern states, excluding Virginia.

In response to these developments, the Biden campaign’s initiative seeks to galvanize public support ahead of the election, emphasizing the stakes for abortion rights and healthcare access across the United States.

“This election is going to be a critical turning point in the fight for reproductive freedom because Trump and his Republican allies have made it clear they’ll stop at nothing to rip away our ability to make decisions for our own health care, our bodies, and our futures,” said Ross.

“Donald Trump sees overturning Roe as something to brag about, but we see it for what it really is – an attack on a fundamental human right to make your own decisions about your body,” said Foushee. “The choice this November is simple.”

On Thursday, CNN will host a televised presidential debate between President Biden and Donald Trump, the focus on women’s health and reproductive choice is expected to be discussed.

In February, the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision to block access to IVF stirred controversy, prompting some prominent Republicans nationwide to distance themselves from the ruling. However, the court’s rationale—that life begins at conception—is a core belief shared by many far-right lawmakers, including Mark Robinson, the Republican nominee for governor.

Robinson has pledged to sign a 6-week abortion ban if elected governor, with intentions to pursue a complete ban in the future. Congressman Dan Bishop, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has advocated for even stricter abortion restrictions– providing a two-birds scenario for campaigning Democrats.

“In April, House Democrats introduced legislation to safeguard IVF access, but Republican leadership has thus far refused to bring it to a vote,” noted Congresswoman Ross, representing Wake County. “Similarly, Senate Republicans blocked separate bills protecting IVF and birth control just this month.”

“As alarming as this is,” Ross continued, “we know these are just the opening moves, which is why November’s election is so crucial.”

Congresswoman Foushee, who represents Durham and Orange counties among others, also voiced concern about the disproportionate impact of existing barriers and potential new restrictions on women of color.

“For Black women, Trump’s actions have made becoming a mother even more dangerous,” Foushee said. “We know that despite Black people making up only 22% of North Carolina’s population, Black women accounted for 43% of pregnancy-related deaths between 2020 and 2022,” Foushee said.

The issue of abortion rights resonates deeply with voters, with multiple polls showing widespread opposition to abortion bans both in North Carolina and across the nation, including a large swath of Republicans.

“I hear from people who are angry with Republican leaders from Trump to Republicans in the General Assembly who have stripped them of their freedoms and interfered with their most personal healthcare decisions,” Ross said. “I hear from younger women and their husbands who want to have the freedom to choose when and how they start their families.”

President Biden has committed to safeguarding abortion access, and according to Foushee and Ross, if Democrats regain control of both the Senate and the House, they intend to pass legislation solidifying protections for all reproductive rights. In North Carolina, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Attorney General Josh Stein and attorney general candidate Rep. Jeff Jackson have also pledged their full support for defending reproductive rights.

During Friday’s press conference, Dr. John Purakal, an ER physician from North Carolina, recounted treating multiple patients who had traveled from states with more stringent abortion laws. Shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Purakal recalled treating a patient who had traveled a considerable distance out of fear of legal repercussions in her home state.

“Unfortunately, during that time, her health deteriorated,” Purakal said. “What she thought was stress turned out to be a serious infection. She was becoming septic and her pregnancy failed. The safest medical decision was for her to have an abortion…But because of Trump and his allies passing extreme abortion bans, her pregnancy turned what should be an informed conversation between a patient and her physician into a terrifying and dangerous experience.”

Mary Lucas, a healthcare advocate from Raleigh, also shared her story at the press conference, stressing what she sees as the importance of reproductive freedom. Lucas did this by reflecting on her experience nearly two decades ago at 16 when she decided to have an abortion at a time when access was fully protected.

“I was getting ready to go to volleyball camp. I was thinking about my junior year of high school and suddenly I felt my entire life start to change,” Lucas said. “As a child myself, there was no way I could care for a baby. That was in North Carolina when abortion was legal, where I could safely make the right decision for my health and for my future.”

Next week, President Biden and the First Lady are anticipated to visit Raleigh, while former President Trump plans a rally in Chesapeake, Virginia. Trump and Biden are virtually even in national polling, with Trump holding a roughly six-point advantage in North Carolina. In the gubernatorial election, Stein and Robinson are locked in a tight race. Both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are scheduled for this summer.

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