President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday, which he said would “protect access to reproductive health care.”
The order is intended to increase access to free or reduced-price reproductive health care medication, contraceptive care, education on how to access the care, increase patient privacy and create a Reproductive Health Care Task Force to oversee it all.
The order comes in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, where the court concluded that the U.S. Constitution did not grant the right to an abortion and would leave decisions on the matter to each individual state.
“This Court has made it clear it will not protect the rights of women,” Biden said Friday. “I will. That’s why today I’m signing an Executive Order to protect access to reproductive health care.”
The president does not hold the power to overturn a decision by the Supreme Court, and this executive order would not do that, but Biden added that to “restore” the reproductive rights in the U.S., would be to vote in two additional “pro-choice” senators and one House member to attempt to codify Roe vs. Wade into a federal law.
“While I wish it had not come to this, this is the fastest route available,” Biden said. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe, which I will sign immediately upon its passage.”
On the same day the Supreme Court announced it had override the case result, Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowed to work with the state’s legislature to “save every child from the ravages of abortion.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children,” Abbott said in a June 24 statement. “Texas is a pro-life state and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life.”
Biden said Friday, that “extreme Republican governors” have used the Supreme Court’s decision to pass the “harshest and most restrictive laws” in relation to reproductive care.
“What we’re witnessing is a giant step backwards in much of our country,” Biden said. “Already the bans are in effect… in a number of these states, the laws are so extreme they’ve raised the threat of criminal penalties for doctors and health care providers. Some of these states don’t allow for exceptions for rape or incest.”
The Secretary of Health and Human Services now has 30 days to submit a report to the President on how to incorporate the proposed measures for reproductive care access.
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