Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, Chairman Joe Biden took aim at an “extreme” Republican Party formed by Donald Trump and state-level threats to abortion rights and the protection of LGBT+ Americans.
“Did you ever think that we would be in a position in the year 2022, we would be talking about banning books in schools?” the president said on May 11, referring to a growing campaign by conservative activists and Republican lawmakers to restrict speech in schools, including “bans” on certain books from libraries.
He referenced attempts by Florida Republicans to dismantle the Walt Disney Company’s governance structure for its sprawling theme park after the company opposed what critics have called a “Don’t Say Gay” law that bans classroom discussion about LGBT+ people, events and issues.
“I mean, you know, the idea that you can’t mention, you can’t mention the school. What will happen to a gay boy, an L?[G]BTQ kid at school? he said. “I mean, this thing, it’s a thing to take on Disney World. They’re going to storm Cinderella’s castle before this is over.
In his remarks, the president stressed the urgency of several issues — civil rights protections, voting rights, social security, health care — as part of the Democrats’ critical midterm platform, while the Republicans they are preparing to gain control of Congress and stall Biden’s agenda.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I think we can get three seats in the Senate. And I think we can increase our majority in the House, but we have to do it by more than a couple of votes. We have to do it by more than a couple of votes, because it’s getting too close.”
The president also warned that a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion signaling the end of constitutional protections for abortion, affirmed by the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, could encourage Republicans to “ go after” marriage equality.
“It’s not just the brutality of taking away a woman’s right to control her own body and all the damage that does physically, psychologically and practically,” the president said.
He said the opinion “basically says there is no such thing as a right to privacy,” the essential protections of the 14th Amendment affirmed in the Roe decision.
“Mark my words: If that decision stands, we’re not just going to fight for a woman’s right to control her own body and the brutality that comes with having to give birth in a circumstance that goes beyond what, that can be tolerated, but what else is going to happen?” he said. “Mark my words: They are going to pursue the right of the Supreme Court decision on the right to same-sex marriage.”
He also suggested that the court could hear challenges to Griswold vs. Connecticuta 1965 ruling that established the right to use contraception as part of a ruling that marital privacy is protected from the contraceptive ban.