Supreme Court ‘out of control’ rules to protect access to abortion

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order designed to help protect women’s access to abortion and contraceptives after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade’s decision last month to legalize abortion at the White House in Washington, July 8, 2022.

Kevin Lamark | Reuters

Calling the U.S. Supreme Court “out of control,” President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday aimed at expanding access to abortion in states that ban it after a court decision two weeks ago repealing the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris and Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, chided the Conservative majority in court for depriving U.S. citizens of basic rights he says are protected by the Constitution, such as the right to privacy in health care matters such as like asking for an abortion.

“We cannot allow an uncontrolled Supreme Court, working alongside extremist elements of the Republican Party, to take away our freedom and personal autonomy,” he said from the White House.

The President called for comments by Judge Clarence Thomas in a concurring opinion striking out Roe v. Wade, who offered to challenge past rulings on access to contraceptives, same-sex marriage and other issues.

What century are they in? asked an incredulous-sounding Biden, who vowed to veto any future Republican efforts to ban abortion nationwide. The Affordable Care Act guarantees free contraceptive and contraceptive counseling to women.

Biden then signed an executive order that promises to protect the safety of patients and abortion providers and gain access to the procedure through mobile clinics near state lines that restrict access to abortion.

The order also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to release a report within the next month detailing actions to protect medical abortion, ensure access to emergency contraception and the IUD, and expand reproductive education.

It directs HHS to take steps to protect access to abortion pills, though it’s not clear exactly what the federal government plans to do. The FDA approved the abortion pill mifepristone over 20 years ago as a safe and effective way to terminate a pregnancy before the 10th week.

In December, the FDA permanently authorized mail-order pills from licensed pharmacies and healthcare providers. Planned Parenthood, a health care provider that supports access to abortion services, praised the decision at the time as a significant expansion of reproductive rights.

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The order comes two weeks after the Supreme Court voted to overturn its historic 1973 decision Roe v. Wade solution and put an end to 50 years of judicial precedent. So far, at least eight states, including Texas, Alabama and Missouri, have banned abortion, and a dozen more are expected to restrict or ban access to the procedure over the next two months.

Democrats, angry and upset by the ruling, pressured Biden and Congress to do more to respond to the ruling. While the order is an attempt to quell some of that public outrage, the directive is vague and leaves many details to Becerra and the lawyers to work out.

On Friday, Biden also directed HHS to ensure that pregnant women who experience miscarriages and other complications have access to emergency care.

Abortion rights activists are concerned that medical professionals will delay treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, fearing prosecutors may interpret these interventions as a form of abortion.

Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates have urged lawmakers to suspend Senate filibuster rules that require a minimum of 60 votes to pass legislation, a monumental task in a 50-50 house split between Democrats who seek protection for abortion rights and Republicans. who largely support the court’s decision to overrule Rowe.

Biden acknowledged this reality in his White House speech on Friday and urged Americans to vote with their conscience in the November midterm elections. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe, which I will sign as soon as it is passed on my desk,” he said.

Women living in states where abortion is illegal must either order pills from overseas, which carries some risk, or cross state lines to get a prescription in a state where the procedure remains legal.