US President Joe Biden signs order to protect abortion rights

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US President Joe Biden signs order to protect abortion rights
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Joe Biden has signed an executive order to protect reproductive rights for women after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion.

Mr Biden said the order will add new measures to protect women’s health, after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v Wade which allows states to decide if and how to allow abortions.

The order said it will safeguard access to productive health care services, including abortion and contraception, protect privacy of patients, and “co-ordinate the iplementation of federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care”.

Mr Biden is also directing his staff to line up volunteer lawyers to provide women and providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state restrictions.

The actions Biden outlined are intended to head off some potential penalties that women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but his order cannot restore access to abortion in the more than a dozen states where strict limits or total bans have gone into effect.

About a dozen more states are set to impose additional restrictions.

Since the decision, Mr Biden has stressed that his ability to protect abortion rights by executive action is limited without congressional action, and stressed that Democrats do not have the votes in the current Congress to do so.

“We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice house to codify Roe,” he said. “Your vote can make that a reality.”

“The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,” Biden said. “The challenge is go out and vote. For God’s sake there is an election in November!”

Biden for the first time last week announced his support for changing Senate rules to allow a measure to restore nationwide access to abortion to pass by simple majority, rather than the usual 60-vote threshold required to end a filibuster. However, at least two Democratic lawmakers have made clear they won’t support changing Senate rules.

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