Washington [US], July 8 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) announced new steps aimed at protecting abortion rights in response to the landmark decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade, a decades-old decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion.
The executive order pledges to ensure the safety of abortion patients and providers, including setting up mobile clinics near the borders of states restricting abortion access. It also seeks to convene private, pro bono lawyers to offer support to people crossing state lines to get an abortion.
Another part of the order directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a report in the next 30 days outlining additional actions to protect medication abortion, expand access to emergency contraception and IUDs, and increase public education around reproductive rights.
Biden spoke passionately about the case of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was forced to leave the state to get an abortion after being impregnated during rape.
“Imagine being that little girl,” Biden said, “A 10-year-old girl should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can’t think of anything more extreme.”
At least nine states have banned abortion so far including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A dozen more states are expected to prohibit or restrict the procedure in the coming weeks.
“I’m asking the Justice Department that, much like they did in the Civil Rights era, to do everything in their power to protect these women seeking to invoke their rights,” Biden said at the White House on Friday.
Biden has been under pressure to protect abortion rights since the Supreme Court’s ruling two weeks ago.
“The practice of medicine … should not be frozen in the 19th century,” Biden said in the White House Roosevelt Room. Vice President Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, also accompanied him to the briefing.
Decrying a “huge step” backwards by an “out-of-control” conservative court, Biden urged voters to take up the court’s challenge to pass legislation to protect abortion rights.
“The only way to restore that right to choose is at the ballot box,” he said.
Biden urged women to turn out in November to give him stronger Democratic majorities in Congress to act on abortion and protect the rights to contraception and same-sex marriage too.
Biden called the ruling “outrageous” and “destabilizing” and said last week that Congress must overturn it by writing Roe vs Wade into federal law. He also said he supports changing filibuster rules in the Senate to make it easier to codify the right to abortion and privacy into federal law.
Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to pass most legislation because of the filibuster. Changing the rules would allow senators to write Roe vs Wade into law with a simple majority. But getting rid of the filibuster is up to the Senate, and right now there aren’t enough votes to make that happen. (ANI)