Biden faces pressure on abortion from left

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The president’s repeated use the phrase “abortion on demand
” has progressive groups worried he’s proliferating what has a become a right-wing talking point. 

“When President Biden says if he is not a fan of abortion on demand,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of Women’s March, “it is engaging in the fight for abortion rights and reproductive freedom within the messaging frame … that the opposition has set.”

But those close to Biden’s campaign and prominent reproductive rights groups that have endorsed him argue his language is focused on winning the election and staying in office.


They also argue the administration’s actions show a president committed to abortion rights. 

“We have the same goals here: to win the election, restore the federal right to an abortion, and expand access across the country,” said Reproductive Freedom for All President and CEO Mini Timmaraju.

Lanae Erickson, senior vice president for Social Policy, Education & Politics at the center-left think tank Third Way, said the debate surrounding abortion access has moved so far right that nuance like what progressives are asking for isn’t necessary. 

“Democrats should be emphasizing bodily freedom, not making litmus tests about what you can and can’t think about abortion to be part of our club. You know where Democrats and Biden are, and there’s absolutely no comparison [to Trump and the GOP],” Erickson said.

Biden is well-known for his Catholic faith — only the second Catholic U.S. president after John F. Kennedy — and has referenced his personal discomfort with abortion due to his religion. 

The abortion group Catholics for Choice argues this only strengthens Biden’s support for abortion. 

“He’s always been able to distinguish his faith from the common good. And he has said he will not impose his religious beliefs on the beliefs of others. Now, that’s solid religious freedom thinking,” said Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice.  

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