Biden Urges Congress to ‘Restore Soul of This Nation’ by Expanding Abortion, Transgenderism in SOTU
During his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden called on Congress “to restore the soul of this nation” by making abortion legal nationwide until birth and passing a bill that would force religious employers to hire people who identify as transgender. His administration’s focus on pushing polarizing social issues clashes with Republicans’ more mainstream views of abortion and gender identity, a contrast that Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) said gives Americans a clear choice “between normal or crazy.”
“Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose,” said Biden, an apparent nod to the “Women’s Health Protection” Act, which would erase 1,381 pro-life protections including parental notification requirements. “The vice president and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive healthcare and safeguard patient privacy.” He went on to chide states for enacting “extreme abortion bans” and threatened to veto any national pro-life legislation.
The president also urged Congress to “pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.” The bill, a longstanding goal of the LGBT lobby, would amend landmark civil rights acts to equate sexual orientation and gender identity with race, sex, and religion. It effectively places homosexuality and transgender status above religious liberty by denying protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The extreme bill, once supported by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, “would eradicate freedom of thought, conscience, and belief — resulting in the penalization of anyone who disagrees with the ideologies,” wrote Mary Beth Waddell, director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.
Passing such social legislation, Biden said, would enhance “the power of our example. Let’s remember the world is watching.”
Biden symbolically gestured toward left-wing social issues with his guest list, which included Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, the lesbian couple whose lawsuit foisted same-sex marriage on the state of Massachusetts by judicial fiat in 2004. The couple also spoke at the signing ceremony of the so-called “Respect for Marriage” Act, which struck down marriage protection laws nationwide.
Biden also invited Amanda and Josh Zurawski of Austin, who say doctors denied them medical treatment for a miscarriage due to confusion over the state’s Heartbeat law. SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser says the president has weaponized their “tragic” story to further his “deeply misleading” allegations. “Every pro-life law in the country allows necessary and timely medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant woman in an emergency,” she said. “There are no laws in any state that prevent timely and compassionate care for a miscarriage,” added the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). “Denying proper healthcare to patients facing miscarriage complications is not complying with the law. Miscarriage care is not abortion.”
Some members of Congress made statements of their own, with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) inviting acquitted pro-life activist Mark Houck, who found himself swarmed by federal agents at his home in front of his family for allegedly violating federal laws against blocking access to an abortion facility.
Even as he discussed bipartisanship, Biden tied conservatives and Republicans to civil war, insurrection, and the attack against Paul Pelosi by a hammer-wielding man with a mental illness. “Two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War,” he said, referring to the January 6 riot. “Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken,” apparently quoting the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” He claimed Pelosi’s assailant had been “unhinged by the Big Lie.”
“This kind of provocative rhetoric has only served to fuel the spread of violent attacks on churches and pregnancy help centers since Biden took office. While ignoring these attacks and their victims, the Biden administration has openly weaponized the federal government against pro-life Americans like Mark Houck and his family,” said Brian Burch of CatholicVote.
Biden also proposed a massive federal intervention into the way families raise children by “providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds,” a proposal repeatedly made by President Barack Obama during successive State of the Union addresses. Multiple studies have found Pre-K attendance inflicts a number of harms on young students, and polls have found most mothers would like to stay at home. “No public preschool program can provide the environments and the parental love and care of a functioning family and the lifetime benefits that ensue,” said James J. Heckman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist frequently cited by those who support universal pre-K.
Those references aside, Biden’s 70-minute-long address largely focused on economic issues, showing uncharacteristic “restraint,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. Biden “tried so hard to seem like a 1980s Democrat but it’s just not believable.”
The president often cited his economic success by comparing his results to the worst days of the 2020 recession, caused by a government-mandated shutdown to “slow the spread.” Biden said he had “created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years,” he said.
Biden has added 2.7 million jobs over the prepandemic high of 152.4 million reached under President Donald Trump. By comparison, Trump added nearly 5 million jobs in his first two years in office, and 13.4 million in the 22 months rebounding from the COVID-19 lockdown. The labor force participation rate under President Biden remains below prepandemic levels (62.4% this month compared to 63.3% in January 2020).
“The state of our union is miserable, and the blame rests squarely with President Biden and the Democrats,” said Jenny Beth Martin, honorary chair of the Tea Party Patriots Action. “Whether it’s record deficit spending causing the worst inflation in four decades, an ‘open borders’ policy causing a record stream of illegal immigrants crossing our border, or a weak foreign policy emboldening China and other adversaries, President Biden is always doing the wrong thing and American families always end up paying the price.”
President Biden urged Congress to “pass the PRO Act, because workers have a right to form a union.” The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a sought-after legislative goal of labor unions, would strike down all state right-to-work laws and compel workers in a unionized shop to pay union dues, even if they do not want to belong to a union. Federal legislation has protected workers’ right to join a union since the 1936 Wagner Act. Yet only 6% of the private sector workforce belonged to a union in 2022, while one-third of government employees have unionized, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor unions contributed $65 million in union dues to Democratic candidates during the 2020 election cycle, including $27.5 million to Biden’s presidential campaign. The president was also the top recipient of campaign donations from teachers unions.
At two points, Biden paused mid-speech as Republicans opposed his caricature of their platform, accusing Republicans of wanting to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. A legislative proposal to that effect, from Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.), received little legislative support.
Biden made a brief reference to the border, which has seen record-breaking levels of illegal immigration and virtually non-existent deportations during both of his years in office. “America’s border problems won’t be fixed until Congress acts,” particularly “if you won’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform,” which includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, he told lawmakers.
On foreign affairs, Biden pledged continued financial and military aid to Ukraine despite flagging public support, and boasted of a supposed hardline against China. “Before I came to office, the story was about how the People’s Republic of China was increasing its power and America was falling in the world. Not anymore,” he said. “As we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.” Biden shot down a Chinese spy craft this weekend after it had completed its surveillance of areas that included U.S. nuclear installations.
Biden gave a nod to COVID-19, which defined the first few months of his presidency. “We have broken COVID’s grip on us,” he said. “And soon we’ll end the public health emergency.” Biden announced the federal government would end its emergency in May, shortly after the House of Representatives passed legislation ending the government’s state of emergency immediately. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) invited as his guest a U.S. serviceman briefly dismissed from the military for refusing to take the COVID shot.
“Biden’s comments aimed at the need for a world ‘solution’ on certain topics (which understandably concern people) continue to imply the legitimacy of world power centers like the UN, WHO, and the like. Yet this takes power further from the people that true democracies are supposed to represent. If we have a ‘crisis of democracy’ as some think we do, such ‘solutions’ only exacerbate the problem,” Travis Weber, vice president for Policy and Government Affairs at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “To the extent that the Biden administration’s priorities (like abortion or gender transitions for minors) are injected into these centers of world power, we will be exporting spiritually harmful activities to other nations. Social liberals’ intended solutions for these young people only keeps them imprisoned … and they need to find true freedom from the clutches of the enemy of their souls,” Weber said.
The spiritual condition of America figured prominently in his remarks. “Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong,” he said. Americans “are a good people, the only nation in the world built on an idea: that all of us, every one of us, is created equal in the image of God.”
“I appreciated the president’s affirmation that everyone is ‘created equal in the image of God.’ Unfortunately, for two years the president has demonstrated that he really doesn’t believe that,” David Closson, director of FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview, told The Washington Stand. “Against the moral teachings of his own church, President Biden has pursued the most radical pro-abortion agenda in our nation’s history, and he made it clear tonight that he remains beholden to the abortion lobby by indicating he would veto any federal efforts to protect unborn life.”
“When it comes to protecting life, I wish the president’s policies matched his rhetoric,” said Closson.
“Americans want common sense from their leaders, but in Washington, the Biden administration is doubling down on crazy,” said Governor Sanders.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.
What’s wrong with these people?🤔😡 pic.twitter.com/RO6ylKWrKf
— ⚜️ERIC⚜️ (@ERIC_1A) February 8, 2023
EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.
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