President Biden has been facing mounting pressure to take a strong pro-abortion stance since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision on June 24. Dobbs ended a nationwide constitutional right to abortion and returned the question of abortion regulation to the individual states.
PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNED EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING ABORTION ACCESS IN RESPONSE TO DOBBS DECISION
During a nationally-televised speech last Friday, July 8, President Biden signed an Executive Order protecting abortion access. Joining Biden as he signed the order were Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra and Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Lisa Monaco. In his speech, Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would overturn pro-life laws nationwide, saying he would sign it immediately. Biden repeatedly referred to abortion as “health care” and “reproductive rights” and chemical abortion pills (or mifepristone) as “medication.”
As stated in the Executive Order Fact Sheet released by the White House Briefing Room: “President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law. Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.” (See the White House Briefing Room Fact Sheet of Biden’s Executive Order HERE)
The President’s Executive Order “Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services” includes the following directives:
Protect Access to Chemical Abortion. HHS will take additional action to protect and expand women’s access to abortion care, including access to “medication” to ensure that medication abortion is as widely accessible as possible, including online purchases and delivery through the mail without an in-person doctor’s visit. Last December the Biden administration lifted long-standing U.S. Federal and Drug Administration restrictions requiring an in-person doctor’s visit prior to prescribing chemical abortion pills. (See Council for Life’s December News Article HERE)
Convene Volunteer Lawyers. The Attorney General and the White House Counsel will convene volunteer attorneys to provide women and abortion providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state abortion restrictions. The President and his Administration’s position is that “Americans must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek an abortion.” The Attorney General is committed to “fighting any attack by a state or local official who attempts to interfere with women exercising this right.”
Protect Patients, Providers and Clinics. The Executive Order addresses the “heightened risk” related to seeking and providing reproductive health care and pledges to ensure the safety and protection of abortion patients, abortion providers, or any entity providing, dispensing or delivering reproductive health care services. This charge includes the protection of mobile abortion clinics deployed near the borders of states restricting abortion access to provide abortion services for out-of-state patients.
Protecting Patient Privacy. The Executive Order also contains numerous provisions to protect patient privacy, including women seeking information about abortion online, using mobile apps or utilizing abortion services.
The Biden Administration has established a federal website for “up-to-date information on your right to access reproductive health care” at www.reproductiverights.gov.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS
Biden has stressed his administration’s limitations to codify Roe as federal law because pro-abortion legislators do not have the requisite votes in the current Congress. Biden has passionately urged Americans to vote in this November’s election so pro-abortion legislators will have control in both the House and Senate to codify Roe.
RESPONSE FROM PRO-LIFE SIDE TO EXECUTIVE ORDER
This past Saturday, Catholic News Agency reported that the Chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, called President Biden’s Executive Order aimed at protecting abortion access “deeply disturbing and tragic.” (See the CNA article HERE)
The Washington Times reported “Leaders of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) said the White House and leading medical groups are failing to warn the public about the dangers associated with allowing at-home chemical abortion medication to be delivered by mail without an in-person clinic visit.” (Read the WT article HERE)
PRESIDENT BIDEN IS CONSIDERING DECLARING ABORTION-RELATED PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
Multiple news outlets including Reuters and The Dallas Morning News reported that Biden has asked his staff to determine whether he has the authority to declare a public health emergency regarding abortion access. He also encouraged people outraged by Dobbs who have been demonstrating across the country to: “Keep protesting. Keep making your point. It’s critically important.” (See the Reuters article HERE and the DMN article HERE)