MANASSAS, Va. - President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris rallied for abortion rights in Manassas, Virginia on Tuesday as they prepared for a likely rematch with Donald Trump, the former Republican president who paved the way for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Biden was interrupted several times by protests over Israel’s war in Gaza, with one shouting "Shame on you!"
"This is going to go on for a while; they got this planned," the Democratic president said as the protesters were escorted out one by one.
Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupt US President Joe Biden, not pictured, during a reproductive freedom campaign rally at George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Biden on Monday said November's election would pl
According to Politico, protesters chanted "genocide Joe," while supporters tried to match their fever by shouting, "four more years."
The outlet stated that the president was interrupted at least 14 times during his speech.
Biden and Harris were joined by their spouses, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, at Monday’s rally. It’s the first time the four of them have appeared together since the campaign began, a reflection of the importance that Democrats are putting on abortion this year.
Jill Biden told a story about a friend who became pregnant in high school, years before Roe v. Wade. The friend, she said, needed to get a psychiatric evaluation to be declared mentally unfit before she could get the abortion.
"Secrecy, shame, silence, danger, even death. That’s what defined that time for so many women," she said. "And because of Dobbs that’s where we’re finding ourselves back again, refighting the battles we had fought."
Emhoff told the crowd that the fight for abortion rights needed men as well.
"Reproductive freedom is not a woman’s issue," Emhoff said. "It’s an everyone’s issue."
The four of them spoke in front of a blue banner that spanned the width of the stage and said "Restore Roe" in bold letters. The crowd hummed with energy, chanting "four more years" and booing Trump’s name, a glimpse of the enthusiasm that has been largely missing from Biden’s low-key events since announcing his reelection campaign last April.
Democrats view Virginia as a success story in their fight for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. In last year’s legislative elections, the party maintained control of the Senate and won a majority in the House. It was a defeat for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who had proposed new limits on abortion and had been considered a potential presidential candidate.
The rally came on the same day as the Republican primary in New Hampshire, where Trump plans to tighten his grip on his party’s presidential nomination, and it demonstrated how Democrats hope to harness ongoing anger over abortion restrictions to blunt his comeback bid.
US President Joe Biden reacts to pro-Palestinian protesters, not pictured, at a reproductive freedom campaign rally at George Mason University in Manassas, Virginia, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Biden on Monday said November's election would play a critical role in determining abortion rights and criticized restrictions on access to the procedure as cruel as he announced new executive actions designed to increase access to reproductive health care. Photographer: Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court less than two years ago in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a decision enabled by three conservative justices appointed by Trump.
"The person most responsible for taking away this freedom in America is Donald Trump," Biden said.
Watch Biden get heckled by protesters below:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.