Under pressure, Biden will sign an order on access to abortion


US President Joe Biden will take executive action on Friday to protect abortion access, the White House said, as he faces mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful on the issue after the Supreme Court annulled the constitutional right to procedure two weeks ago.

The White House said Biden will speak Friday morning “on protecting access to reproductive health care services.” The actions she was expected to describe are intended to try to mitigate some of the potential penalties that women seeking an abortion may face after the ruling, but have limited ability to safeguard abortion access across the country.

Biden is expected to formalize instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to reject efforts to limit women’s ability to access federally approved abortion medications or to travel across state lines to access them. to clinical abortion services.

Biden’s executive order will also direct agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers on how and when they should share privileged patient information with authorities, an effort to protect women who seek or use abortion services. It will also ask the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those seeking reproductive care information online and establish an interagency task force to coordinate federal efforts to safeguard access to abortion.

The White House said it will also call on volunteer attorneys to provide women and providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state restrictions after the Supreme Court ruling.

The order, following the June 24 high court ruling that ended abortion rights across the country and left it to states to determine whether or how to allow the procedure, comes as Biden has faced criticism from some on his own. party for not acting more urgently. to protect women’s access to abortion. The decision in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade.

Since the decision, Biden has emphasized that his ability to protect abortion rights through executive action is limited without action by Congress.

“Ultimately, Congress will have to act to codify Roe into federal law,” Biden said last week during a virtual meeting with Democratic governors.

The assignment to the Department of Justice and HHS is expected to push agencies to fight in court to protect women, but it does not guarantee that the judicial system will side with them against potential prosecution by states that are They have moved to ban abortion.

“President Biden has made it clear that the only way to guarantee a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to reinstate Roe’s protections as federal law,” the White House said. “Until then, he is committed to doing everything in his power to uphold reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”


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