The first lady talked in detail about how she helped a friend recover from the procedure in the 1960s, before an abortion was made legal, and she used the story to target Republicans who are pushing anti-abortion laws.
Democrats hope the abortion issue will rally voters to the polls in the November election, which will decide control of Congress.
Biden said her friend, who became pregnant as a teenager in the late 1960s, could not get an abortion unless she underwent a psychiatric evaluation and a doctor deemed her mentally unfit.
The first lady, who was 17 at the time, lived in Pennsylvania where abortion was illegal.
‘To end the pregnancy, she told me that her only recourse was to undergo a psychiatric evaluation that would declare her mentally unfit before the doctor would perform the procedure,’ she said.
She didn’t identify the friend.
She described going to see her friend in the hospital and said that she ‘cried the whole drive home.’
Biden noted her friend was unable to go home after the abortion so Biden’s mother, Bonny Jean Jacobs, allowed the girl to stay with them.
She said that she and her late mother never spoke of it again and that they never told anyone, including Biden’s father, what had happened.
‘Secrecy. Shame. Silence. Danger. Even death. That’s what defined that time for so many women,’ Biden said.
Jill Biden described helping a friend get an abortion pre-Roe. vs. Wade and slammed ‘extremist Republicans’ for wanting to take women ‘back to that time’
First Lady Jill Biden made her comments at a fundraiser for House Democrats in San Francisco on Friday; Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) introduced her at the event, held at the Fairmont Hotel, a historic property on San Francisco’s affluent Nob Hill
She then pivoted to the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the Roe ruling. The Roe vs. Wade decision had been made in 1973.
‘I was shocked when the Dobbs decision came out,’ she said. ‘How could we go back to that time?’
Biden made her comments at a fundraiser for House Democrats in San Francisco on Friday. Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced her at the event, held at the Fairmont Hotel, a historic property on San Francisco’s affluent Nob Hill.
She slammed Republicans for pushing state laws that would restrict abortion access.
‘Extremist Republicans are passing state laws that prevent women from getting the health care they need,’ she said.
Biden noted tha Republican state legislators across the country are also trying to roll back progress on marriage equality, voting rights and health care.
October 2 marked 100 days since the Dobbs ruling that returned the issue of abortion rights to the states.
Since then 13 states have made abortion illegal with eight states passing laws to protect abortion rights, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
And close to 30 million women of reproductive age now live in a state with a ban -including nearly 22 million women who cannot access abortion care after six weeks, before most women know they are pregnant, according to the White House.
The first lady spoke at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tickets started at $500 a plate and went up to $36,500 for VIP access.
Biden is on a three-day trip to the West Coast. Earlier Friday she visited the University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of her Cancer Moonshot work.
On Saturday she is in Seattle where she will appear at a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and then attend a Joining Forces event with the senator and Veterans Affairs Affairs Denis McDonough.
First lady Jill Biden tours the University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of her Cancer Moonshot work
Jill Biden talks with women at the cancer center – she is on a three-day trip to West Coast
Democrats are pushing abortion rights as a way to rally their base to vote in November’s election, which will decide control of Congress.
President Joe Biden, a Roman Catholic who has struggled with the abortion access issue, has urged women to use their political power to vote out Republicans on November 8.
Jill Biden is a particulary potent weapon in that fight. She has rarely spoken in public on the abortion issue and her comments on Friday were her most personal to date.
‘There’s way too much at stake for the women whose lives are on the line, and for the fathers and brothers, and husbands and sons, who love them. We need you in this fight, too,’ she said.
‘Women will not let this country go backwards. We’ve fought too hard for too long. And we know that there is just too much on the line. We will not let some radical Republican agenda be the legacy we leave for our daughters and granddaughters. But that means that we have to act now.’
And, she noted: ‘Here’s the thing that those extremists don’t understand about women. This isn’t the first time that we’ve been underestimated. It’s not the first time that someone has tried to tell us what we can and can’t do.’
Her remarks received a standing ovation.