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President Biden Redefines Freedom in State of the Union

The president claims to stand for freedom, but the policies he promoted in his State of the Union address tell a different story.
Gregory S. Baylor
The president claims to stand for freedom, but the policies he promoted in his State of the Union address tell a different story

“It’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms.”

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Biden spoke these words—but then immediately promoted policies that would do just the opposite. The president reiterated his support for the deceptively named “Equality Act” and dangerously branded abortion as “health care,” promising to support attempts to “codify Roe v. Wade.”

While President Biden highlighted these policies in the middle of a speech supposedly intended to unite all Americans, both legislative efforts would only further threaten the rights of people of faith, harm unborn babies and their mothers, and undermine our constitutionally protected freedoms.

Sadly, this isn’t unexpected. Throughout his presidency, President Biden has continued to establish a dangerous alliance with radical gender ideology activists and the abortion industry. What’s more, he has used executive orders—bypassing the people’s elected representatives—to implement this extreme agenda. Doing so has come at the expense of the very value he claimed to want to protect: freedom.

The Biden administration has reinterpreted “sex” in health-care regulations to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The change forces doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, in direct violation of a doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs.

The Biden administration has similarly reinterpreted “sex” in Title IX, gutting legal protections for women by denying female athletes fair competition in sports, ignoring women’s unique health needs, and forcing vulnerable girls to share intimate spaces with men who identify as female.

And of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration infamously tried to force private businesses and nonprofits to require that their employees be vaccinated or submit to costly weekly testing.

Given these harmful and unconstitutional policies, you can see the irony of President Biden’s calls to protect freedom. And in the State of the Union, he made it clear that this attack on freedom would continue.

Alliance Defending Freedom has seen the consequences of laws and policies similar to the “Equality Act” that have been enacted across the country. These laws result in less freedom, not more.

Churches and religious nonprofits have been told they are not free to hire employees who will live out their religious beliefs about marriage, sexual morality, and the distinction between the sexes. Religious foster care and adoption agencies have been threatened with closure for operating according to their deeply held belief that a child should be placed in a home with a mother and a father. Individuals have had to choose between their jobs and expressing messages that violate their beliefs. Women have been told they must share private spaces with men and compete on an unequal playing field.

What’s more, the “Equality Act” offers no protections for religious freedom and goes so far as to explicitly forbid religious individuals and organizations from invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law designed to restrain the government’s power to burden a person’s exercise of religion.

And despite calls from the abortion industry and elected officials to “codify Roe,” we’ve seen these radical activists push extreme legislation that would go even beyond Roe. During the last Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which not only would have legalized abortion until birth, but also would have invalidated nearly every commonsense state law regulating abortion.

Peddling abortion as health care doesn’t promote freedom. It destroys innocent human life, endangers women’s health, and traps women in a lie that they must choose between motherhood and success in life.

Laws must respect freedom and promote justice for every citizen, no matter who they are. The policies already implemented by the Biden administration and those endorsed by the president during his State of the Union address fail to do either.

Thankfully, there are elected officials in Congress and in states across the nation who are taking a stand for freedom by enacting legislation that ensures Americans’ fundamental liberties are protected. ADF will continue to stand alongside them and support laws and policies that truly protect freedom.

Gregory S. Baylor
Gregory S. Baylor
Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Religious Schools
Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel with the Center for Public Policy.