Sunday, May 28, 2023

Passionate Biden signs order on abortion access

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the Supreme Court’s “extreme” majority that ended the constitutional right to abortion and made an impassioned appeal to Americans upset by the November decision to “vote, vote, vote.” Under increasing pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful in response to the decision, he signed an executive order to try to protect access to the procedure.

The actions Biden described are aimed at avoiding some potential penalties that women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but his order cannot restore access to abortion in more than a dozen states where strict limits or outright bans have taken effect. About a dozen other states are expected to impose additional restrictions.

Biden acknowledged the limitations faced by his office, saying he would require an act of Congress to restore national access to the way it was before the June 24 decision.

“The quickest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,” Biden said. “The challenge is to go out and vote. For God’s sake, there’s an election in November!”

Biden’s suit formalized instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to crack down on efforts to limit women’s ability to access federally approved abortion medications or travel across state borders to access clinical abortion services. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in the Roosevelt Room as he signed the order.

Its executive order also directs agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they should share privileged patient information with authorities — an effort to protect women seeking or obtaining abortion services. He is also calling on the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those seeking reproductive care information online and to establish a task force to coordinate federal efforts to protect access to abortion.

Biden is also directing his team to hire volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal assistance to women and providers to help them deal with the state’s new restrictions.

The order comes as Biden faces criticism from some in his own party for failing to act more urgently to protect women’s access to abortion. The court’s decision in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade.

Since the decision, Biden has emphasized that his ability to protect the right to abortion by executive action is limited without congressional action, and he has emphasized that Democrats do not have votes in the current Congress to do so.

“We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice house to code Roe,” he said. “Your vote can make this a reality.”

Biden for the first time last week announced his support for changing Senate rules to allow a measure to restore national access to abortion to pass by a simple majority, rather than the usual limit of 60 votes needed to end obstruction. However, at least two Democratic lawmakers have made it clear that they will not support changing Senate rules.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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