(Headline USA) President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday trying to recoup the federal government’s power to dictate abortion law under mounting political pressure from the radical leftist arm of his party to be more forceful.
Biden sought to block pro-life states from imposing legal penalties women seeking abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that invalidated the nearly 50-year federal abortion mandate imposed under Roe v. Wade.
“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,” the White House said. “Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
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.
Among the new policies Biden hoped to impose via fiat:
- Formalizing instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to access federally approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services
- Directing agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities—an effort to protect women who seek or utilize abortion services.
- Asking the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those seeking information about reproductive care online and establish an interagency task force to coordinate federal efforts to safeguard access to abortion
- Directing his staff to convene volunteer lawyers to provide women and providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state restrictions after the Supreme Court ruling
Bucking the Left’s demands that he come out swinging, Biden acknowledged the limitations facing his office and put the onus instead on Democrat lawmakers. He noted that it would require an act of Congress to fully reimpose the federal mandate in more than a dozen states where strict limits or total bans taken effect.
About a dozen more states are set to impose additional restrictions in the coming weeks and months.
“The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,” Biden said. “The challenge is go out and vote. For God’s sake there is an election in November. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote!”
Polls have shown that the abortion issue is not a major mover among voters, with an equal number saying it makes them more likely to vote Republican as Democrat and another third saying it makes no difference.
However, Democrats have sought to use it as a rallying cry to mobilize their base in the absence of any other major issues breaking in their favor as the vast majority of Americans see Biden’s economic policy failures as the country’s top concern.
“We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice house to codify Roe,” Biden reiterated on Friday while appealing directly to disaffected Democrat voters. “Your vote can make that a reality.”
He predicted that women would turn out in “record numbers” in frustration over the court’s decision, and said he expected “millions and millions of men will be taking up the fight beside them.”
Biden also reupped his vicious rhetorical attack on the judicial branch, even as Supreme Court justices have faced threats of violence and at least one near-assassination attempt on the life of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Let’s be clear about something from the very start, this was not a decision driven by the Constitution,” Biden baselessly claimed, accusing the court’s majority of “playing fast and loose with the facts.”
Lawrence Gostin, who runs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health at Georgetown Law, described Biden’s plans as “underwhelming.”
“There’s nothing that I saw that would affect the lives of ordinary poor women living in red states,” he said.
Gostin encouraged Biden to take a more forceful approach toward ensuring access to medication abortion across the country and said Medicaid should consider covering transportation to other states for the purposes of getting abortions.
Chiquita Brooks–LaSure, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the AP that the agency was looking at how Medicaid could cover travel for abortions, along with a range of other proposals, but acknowledged that “Medicaid’s coverage of abortion is extremely limited.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press