DES MOINES, Iowa – President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday to protect abortion rights in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Center that overturned Roe v. Wade, claiming a constitutional right to abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey further entrenched that precedent.
He criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“So, what we’re witnessing wasn’t a constitutional judgment. It was an exercise in raw political power,” Biden said.
Biden ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Bacerra to submit a report that identifies ways to protect and expand access to “abortion care,” including medical abortion, and protect and expand access to “the full range of reproductive healthcare services.”
He also orders Bacerra to promote the full range of contraceptive services and to provide “know your rights” material for those seeking “reproductive healthcare services.”
To promote access, Biden ordered Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Counsel to meet with “private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations in order to encourage lawyers to represent and assist patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking these services throughout the country.”
He also ordered the U.S. Departments of Justice (DHS) and Homeland Security (DHS) to consider how to address “potential heightened safety and security risks” to abortion clinics and reproductive health care clinics.
He also ordered the DOJ and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to consider other ways to protect patient privacy.
Biden also ordered the Federal Trade Commission to “consider options to address deceptive or fraudulent practices related to reproductive healthcare services, including online, and to protect access to accurate information.”
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said in a released statement called President Biden’s order the first step among many needed to address the Supreme Court ruling.
“While I’m pleased to see President Biden taking action to protect access to abortion and other reproductive health services, we know that this is just one of the many steps that we must take to protect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy,” she said.
“We have to meet this moment and codify Roe v. Wade. Women should be in charge of their own bodies, not the government, and have access to the resources they need to stay healthy and plan their families on their own terms,” Axne added.
Legislation, “the Women’s Health Protection Act,” passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last year that Axne voted for goes beyond the codification of Roe v. Wade but supersedes any municipal or state regulation of abortion, including those allowed under Planned Parenthood v. Casey and late-term abortion bans if “in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
“Health” is not defined in the bill.
The bill did not receive a simple majority, let alone the 60 votes required to pass cloture, in the U.S. Senate.