President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address touched on many hotly-debated issues Tuesday night, both domestic and global, as he vowed to stand up to Russia as well as states that pass laws limiting abortion and who can participate in women’s sports.
Biden delivered his first State of the Union Address since taking office last year, given to a joint session of the 117th United States Congress gathered in the U.S. House Chamber, which he called a “citadel of democracy.”
The president maintained that numerous rights were “under assault” as he encouraged lawmakers to rally behind his domestic agenda.
Biden lamented that “the constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade, standing precedent for half a century, is under attack as never before.”
Despite being the second Catholic to be elected president of the United States, Biden expressed disappointment with the myriad of pro-life laws passed at the state level a day after the U.S. Senate killed the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill would have codified the legal precedent of Roe, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a right to abortion nationwide, into federal law.
While he didn’t mention the bill by name, Biden implicitly called on Congress to support such legislation by proclaiming: “If you want to go forward not backwards, we must protect access to healthcare, preserve a woman’s right to choose and continue to advance maternal healthcare for all Americans.”
The 79-year-old former senator from Delaware slammed “the onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families” as “simply wrong.”
He delivered a message to “our younger transgender Americans,” telling them “I’ll always have your back as your president so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”