ERLC: What we expect in the State of the Union
By Hannah Daniel/ERLC
WASHINGTON (BP) – Today, President Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address. The State of the Union (SOTU) gives the president the opportunity to report to Congress and the American people on the current condition of the United States and provides a policy vision for the upcoming legislative year.
Unlike last year, Biden is delivering this address to a divided Congress, with Democrats narrowly controlling the Senate and Republicans holding a slim majority in the House of Representatives. Despite these realities, this year presents Biden with his last significant window of opportunity for major legislative action before the 2024 election cycle begins early next year. Looming over this year’s State of the Union is persistently high inflation at home, an intensifying war abroad and uncertainty about whether the president will seek reelection in 2024.
What do we expect President Biden to address?
Thus far, the contents of Biden’s address have been closely held, so new initiatives that the president would like to call for or major legislation he’d like to push may not be known until the speech begins. However, there are a number of issues that, even without reporting, seem likely to be included.
This will be the first State of the Union given in a post-Roe America. Since the Dobbs decision was released last summer, the Biden administration has taken a number of actions to expand abortion access across the country. In addition to congressional efforts to codify a right to abortion following the ruling, the administration has flexed its regulatory powers to push forward abortion and subvert pro-life state laws. Through the administrative state, Biden has mandated abortion access at VA facilities across the nation, made the abortion pill more readily available than ever before, and is reportedly weighing declaring a “public health emergency” to create new avenues for abortion access.
Undoubtedly, the ongoing war in Ukraine will be addressed. As we approach the one-year mark of Russia’s unjust, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Biden will likely highlight all that the United States has done to support the Ukrainian people and pledge our country’s continued support. The president may also tout the country’s swift response in welcoming roughly 100,000 Ukrainian evacuees and the work of U.S. aid organizations such as Send Relief in meeting the humanitarian needs caused by the war.
As the war drags on and the economic costs are felt at home and in Europe, it will be important that Biden address why continued support for the Ukrainian cause matters on a humanitarian, economic, and national security level.
Criminal justice reform
It was recently announced that the parents of Tyre Nichols will be in attendance at the State of the Union. Following the recent release of video footage showing five Memphis police officers using excessive force that eventually led to Nichols’ death, there have been renewed calls for policing and broader criminal justice reforms. It is probable that Biden will seize this momentum and urge Congress to take up action on this issue.
The sincerity of these calls to action may be evaluated by what type of solutions the president highlights. Whether he chooses to point to partisan legislation such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, bipartisan legislation that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was involved in negotiating, or to criminal justice reforms outside of policing, such as the EQUAL Act, remains to be seen and will certainly be telling for the likelihood of any future action in this area.
Kentucky’s Cameron among AGs warning Walgreens, CVS over abortion pills
By Tom Latek/Kentucky Today
FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron is among a coalition of 20 attorneys general in sending a letter to CVS Health and Walgreens to stop the companies’ plan to unlawfully distribute abortion pills by mail.
“Having failed to halt the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Biden Administration is now promoting its abortion priorities by misinterpreting federal laws that clearly prohibit distributing abortion drugs by mail,” Cameron said. “Mailing abortion medication places the health of mothers at risk and could increase the number of coerced abortions. We will not stand by and allow the Biden Administration to disregard federal law to advance its political agenda.”
According to the coalition, after the Biden Administration issued what they termed an unsound legal opinion for the U.S. Postal Service about the relevant federal law, which prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will “be used or applied for producing abortion,” CVS and Walgreens announced plans to obtain and sell abortion pills through the mail.
In their letter, the attorneys general informed CVS and Walgreens that the Biden Administration has misinterpreted federal law. The coalition writes, “Although many people are unfamiliar with this statute because it has not been amended in a few decades, the text could not be clearer: “every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion … shall not be conveyed in the mails.’”
The attorneys general also warned that the practice of sending abortion pills by mail may violate the laws of many states across the country. In Kentucky, for example, the Human Life Protection Act prohibits “procur[ing] for” or “sell[ing] to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent” of causing an abortion.
The coalition says “abortion pills are far riskier than surgical abortions,” and according to medical consensus are “5.96 times as likely to result in a complication as first-trimester aspiration abortions.” Mail-order abortion pills could also lead to an increase in coerced abortions due to lack of oversight.
Cameron was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia in sending the letter.