President Biden’s State of the Union address was a welcome return to reality, compared to the prior president’s speeches. The Freedom From Religion Foundation applauds the president for focusing on the many secular challenges facing our nation rather than spreading falsehoods about religious persecution.
FFRF also commends Biden for specifically mentioning the dire threat to reproductive health care in the country. FFRF recently joined more than 100 other organizations in calling on the president to include the need to protect abortion rights in his State of the Union. The joint letter, signed alongside groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Humanist Association and National Organization for Women, urged “everyone, from the White House to Congress to state and municipal governments to local communities, to work hard to protect and expand abortion access.” Biden’s speech was exactly six months after Texas’s disastrous abortion ban, SB 8, as the letter pointed out. Biden had many legitimate issues to cover, including other fundamental rights under assault. So FFRF, 98.8 percent of whose membership supports Roe v. Wade, appreciates that Biden included the threat to safe and legal abortion care.
“Folks, advancing liberty and justice also requires protecting the rights of women,” Biden said. “The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade — standing precedent for half a century — is under attack as never before. If you want to go forward — not backward — we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose. And continue to advance maternal health care for all Americans.”
With zealous anti-choice lawmakers rushing copycat bills through other states, and the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s imperative to continue to demand that the U.S. Senate pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, a vote which unfortunately foundered Monday.
The president missed an opportunity to make the address inclusive for secular Americans, tired of politicians pandering to the religious majority, by ending his address with the inevitable clichéd religious closer, “God bless.” Yet Biden’s preceding conclusion, “This is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. And we will, as one people, One America, the United States of America,” was refreshingly unifying.
FFRF will continue to urge President Biden to use his platform to stand up for secular values, including true religious liberty, which requires a government that is free from religion.