Joe Biden signs executive order to protect American women’s access to abortion

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 (AP)
(AP)

Joe Biden has taken steps to protect women’s access to abortion in the US.

The president has signed an executive order offering protection to millions of American women who have been denied the legal right to an abortion after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade ruling.

“What we’re witnessing wasn’t a constitutional judgment, it was an exercise in raw political power,” Biden told reporters at the White House after quoting heavily from the dissenting opinion in the ruling.

“We cannot allow an out of control Supreme Court, working in conjunction with extremist elements of the Republican party, to take away freedoms and our personal autonomy,” he said.

At the time, Mr Biden said: “It’s a sad day for the court and the country... Now with Roe gone, let’s be very clear: the health and the life of women in this nation are now at risk.”

As he faces growing pressure to take action, the White House said Mr Biden will speak Friday morning “on protecting access to reproductive health care services”.

His presidential powers remain constrained and the executive order is expected to have a limited impact as US states can make laws restricting abortion and access to medicine.

However, Mr Biden will direct the Health and Human Services Department to roll out expanded access to “medication abortion” approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The states that already restrict the medication will not be affected by the presidential order and experts have warned a pill used to terminate early pregnancies is unlikely to be available without prescription for years.

Mr Biden will also outline plans for the department that ensure women have access to emergency medical care, family planning services, and contraception, including intrauterine devices (IUDs).

His attorney general and White House counsel will convene pro bono attorneys and other organisations to provide legal counsel for women seeking an abortion as well as abortion providers.

"Such representation could include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care," the White House said in a statement.

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