President Biden signed an executive order on Friday to protect access to abortion and pleaded with Americans to go to the polls to restore women’s right to choose after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Decrying a “huge step” backward by an “out-of-control” conservative court, Biden urged voters to take up the court’s challenge to pass legislation to protect abortion rights.
“The only way to restore that right to choose is at the ballot box,” he said.
Biden urged women to turn out in November to give him stronger Democratic majorities in Congress to act on abortion and protect the rights to contraception and same-sex marriage too.
“You‚ the women of America, can determine the outcome,” he said. “For God’s sake, there’s an election in November. Vote, vote, vote.”
Biden spoke passionately about the case of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was forced to leave the state to get an abortion after being impregnated during rape.
“Imagine being that little girl,” Biden said, leaning in to speak directly to the camera. “A 10-year-old girl should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can’t think of anything more extreme.”
Standing by Biden’s side, Vice President Kamala Harris shook her head in dismay as Biden related the grim story.
Biden spent surprisingly little time describing his order that seeks to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling.
The order will also direct government agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities — an effort to protect women who seek or obtain an abortion by protecting their digital privacy.
The White House admits its options are limited and that Congress would have to act if Americans are going to regain the right to abortion after the top court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The changes of Congress acting anytime soon are decidedly slim because Republicans hold effective veto power in the Senate through their filibuster power.
For now, it’s up to individual states to decide whether to allow abortion at all and how to regulate the procedure.
Several Republican-led states plan to ban or severely restrict access to abortion by implementing trigger laws including trying to prevent women from going out of state to end their pregnancies.
Democratic-led states including New York are racing to enshrine abortion rights in their laws or even constitutions.
The White House said it will also convene volunteer lawyers to provide women and providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state restrictions after the Supreme Court ruling.