Biden issues abortion access executive order, calling for further study

WASHINGTON — Since even before the Supreme Court quashed Roe v. Wade Democrats have pressured President Biden to take action to protect ...


WASHINGTON — Since even before the Supreme Court quashed Roe v. WadeDemocrats have pressured President Biden to take action to protect abortion rights.

And he’s been looking for ways to do that, convening a task force to monitor state repression of the process, allowing legal action against states he thinks go too far, and giving advice to pharmacists and other health care providers to strengthen existing laws on privacy and access to medicines.

Then on Wednesday, after weeks of study by his administration, Mr. Biden took further action by signing an executive order to protect abortion rights — further studying what he could do to protect people. abortion rights.

The order directed the health and human services secretary to ‘consider actions’ to protect access to abortion and other health services, including for women crossing state borders. State, to “consider all appropriate actions” to inform uncertain doctors of their legal obligations and to “assess the adequacy” of collecting data on abortion.

In view of the presidential power’s unilateral efforts, this was neither particularly noteworthy nor what abortion-rights supporters had hoped for. But executive orders ordering members of an administration to study a particular issue have become common in recent years as a way for business leaders to project the image of bold action even in areas where their power may be limit.

“I pledge to the American people to do everything in our power to protect access to health care, including the right to choose that women had under Roe v. Wade, which was snatched away by this extreme court,” Biden said. in remarks delivered by video from the residence of the White House, where he isolates himself with the Covid-19.

The order came after Kansas voters on Tuesday massively rejected an amendment it would have erased abortion rights from the state constitution. Also on Tuesday, the Biden administration sued Idaho on his tough new law that the Justice Department says would prevent ER doctors from performing necessary abortions on women facing medical emergencies.

Like other Democrats, Mr. Biden drew hope from the Kansas referendum, seeing it as a potential harbinger of a voter backlash against champions of what he called “extreme MAGA ideology” seeking to ban abortion.

“They have no idea the power of American women,” Mr Biden said. “Last night in Kansas, they found out.”

But it was an implicit acknowledgment that even a president has limited power to protect abortion rights unless voters elect more supporters. “Ultimately, Congress must codify Roe’s protections as federal law,” he said. “And if Congress does not act, the people of this country must elect senators and representatives who will restore Roe and protect the right to privacy, liberty and equality.”

As for Mr. Biden’s executive order, White House officials could not explain why he would have to issue a written directive to his own health secretary to investigate an issue when he could presumably just take a phone and tell him to do it. And in fact, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, who joined Mr. Biden for his videoconference on Wednesday, has already studied these questions without waiting for a piece of paper from the Oval Office.

But such mostly token executive orders can sometimes lead to real action down the road if a cabinet department or agency comes back with concrete ideas on how to enact new policy and a president then issues a real executive order the approving.

In this case, Mr. Becerra is responsible for researching ways to help women in states where abortions are banned or severely restricted travel to states where they are available. One option officials mentioned would be to have Medicaid pay for their travel expenses, an idea that would spark protests and possible lawsuits from those who have promoted legal limits on the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.

“It’s a big problem for women who can’t afford abortions,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “It’s a big problem for women who are trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for their health care. It’s a big, big problem for them.

Activists on both sides took Wednesday’s order seriously. NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, called it “another important step to protect access to abortion, and we thank President Biden for relaxing executive authority.” from his office to address the public health crises we face in post-Roe America. ”

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion organization, for its part criticized Mr. Biden for having “used the full weight of the federal government to impose abortion on demand until the moment of birth. , illegally forcing taxpayers to fund it”. .”

Daniel Victor contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden issues abortion access executive order, calling for further study
Biden issues abortion access executive order, calling for further study
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