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Biden says U.S. will protect women in search of abortions across state lines


Abortion rights demonstrators march to the homes of US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on June 29, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Friday that the federal government will protect women in search of the abortion pill in states where it has been banned in addition to women who must cross state lines to get the procedure.

“As I said last week: This just isn’t over,” Biden said at a gathering with Democratic governors to debate abortion access, one week after the Supreme Court reversed the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a constitutional right to an abortion.

“Last week, I announced two specific actions,” he said. “First, that if extremist governors attempt to block a girl from traveling from her state that prohibits her from in search of medical help she must a state that gives that care, the federal government will act to guard her bedrock rights through the attorney general’s office.”

Biden had also announced that his administration would make sure that women across the nation are capable of purchase and receive abortion medication that has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Still, Biden acknowledged on the meeting that there aren’t enough Democrats within the Senate willing to suspend a procedural rule to permit Democrats to codify the Roe decision into federal law.

He urged Americans to vote within the midterm elections for candidates who support abortion access.

“The selection is evident: We either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans … who will attempt to ban abortions nationwide.”

Those that attended the meeting with Biden were:

  1. Gov. Kathy Hochul of Recent York
  2. Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina
  3. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Recent Mexico
  4. Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut
  5. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado
  6. Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois
  7. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington
  8. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon
  9. Gov. Daniel McKee of Rhode Island

The list of Democratic governors reflects the state-by-state divide on abortion access within the U.S. following the Supreme Court’s reversal. 

Not less than 13 states have laws on the books that immediately banned abortion or will accomplish that soon. Abortion bans in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Alabama took effect as soon as Roe was overturned, but judges in Louisiana, Kentucky and Utah have blocked those laws from immediately taking effect.

Blue states, corresponding to Recent York and California, will proceed to permit the termination of pregnancies.

Hochul, who spoke just after Biden, detailed pending laws that will “enshrine” the procedure within the Empire State.

“We are also prepared to function a destination for ladies who’ll be seeking to a spot like Recent York … as a secure harbor. Even before the Supreme Court decision, I knew I needed to beef up our opportunities for ladies to return from other states,” she said.

The state decided “to mandate all insurance firms doing business within the state of Recent York … to cover abortion, and I signed six bills related to protecting our providers,” Hochul added. “We’ll stop the extradition of or any seek for certainly one of our providers or a girl who’s in our state, or wanted under criminal charges” related to abortion.

“That is not happening in Recent York,” she said.

Echoing the assumption held by many Democrats, Biden said Thursday the reversal “is a serious, significant issue the Supreme Court has thrust upon the US.”

“I will do all the things in my power I legally can do when it comes to protecting abortion, in addition to pushing Congress and the general public,” he said.

However the implications of the high court’s recent ruling are still being sorted on the state level, leaving federal agencies scrambling to navigate an evolving patchwork of laws and jurisdictions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra acknowledged the complexity of the situation Tuesday.

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Becerra told reporters that federal law requires U.S. health agencies to grant abortion medication in exceptional circumstances, corresponding to when the lifetime of the lady is in danger or in cases of sexual assault.

But he declined to enter further detail on just how aggressive the federal government will probably be in fighting states’ abortion restrictions outside of those extreme cases, saying, “We’re going to stay inside the confines of the law.”

Biden said Thursday that he would support a Democrat-led effort to suspend a procedural rule within the Senate that will make it easier for lawmakers to codify the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law.

Democrats within the evenly divided chamber have long sought to pass such laws. While most bills require a straightforward majority to pass, Republicans have been capable of block any attempts to codify Roe by invoking a filibuster, a procedural rule that requires 60 votes within the 50-50 split chamber to shut debate and move on to a vote.

Suspending that rule, considered a political and legislative “nuclear option,” is dangerous for Democrats since Republicans could do the identical if the GOP won back the Senate within the November midterm elections.

Biden’s support for suspension will not be enough anyway. While the filibuster could possibly be modified with a straightforward majority vote, not all Senate Democrats are behind the concept of tossing out a option to check future Republican majorities.

Moderate Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, for instance, have said they’re against changes to the filibuster rules.

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