President Biden vowed Tuesday to introduce legislation codifying abortion protections as his first bill in the next Congress if Democrats keep control of the legislative branch.
Biden made the announcement during a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, marking that nearly half the states in the U.S. have already or soon will enact bans on abortion. Midterm elections are barreling toward Democrats and polls suggest Republicans are likely to take the House of Representatives, while the Senate is a toss-up.
“In these midterm elections it is so critical to elect more Democratic Senators to the United States Senate and more Democrats to keep control of the House of Representatives,” Biden said. “If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade.”
Biden added that if it passes, he plans to sign the bill in January on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade’s original announcement.
“Vote! You’ve got to get out the vote,” he added. “We can do this if we vote.”
Democrats have sought to make abortion the central issue for midterm elections after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in June.
Abortion policy now falls to states, with red states enacting near-total bans and blue stats enshrining abortion in law if they hadn’t already.
While the issue has galvanized many voters, it remains less pressing than inflation and the economy in polling.
A Monday poll from The New York Times found that roughly 26% of voters said the economy is their most important issue, followed by inflation and cost of living at 18%. Abortion came in third, but at just 5%. Immigration also landed at 5%, while crime rounded out the top five at 3%.
Another Monday poll from the Associated Press found that voters say they trust Republicans to better handle crime, the economy, immigration and foreign policy, while they favor Democrats on abortion policy and healthcare.