President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier today that is intended to protect access to reproductive health services, two weeks after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“The Supreme Court in Dobbs made a terrible, extreme, and I think totally wrong-headed decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. “This was not a decision driven by the Constitution […or] by history.”
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“President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law,” the White House said in a statement. “Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
As CNN reports, Biden’s options are limited when it comes to restoring abortion access across the U.S., and the White House has dismissed progressive ideas, including allowing abortion providers to work from federal property in states where the procedure is banned.
The executive order aims to safeguard access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception; protect the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information; promote the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics; and coordinate the implementation of federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.
“I’m asking the Justice Department, much like they did in the Civil Rights era, to do everything in their power to protect these women seeking to invoke their rights,” Biden said on Friday.
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin have all banned abortion since the Supreme Court announced its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health late last month, and dozens more are expected to pass similar legislation in the coming weeks.
Biden’s executive order pledges to set up mobile clinics near the border of states that restrict or ban access to abortions as well as convening private, pro bono lawyers to represent people crossing state lines to receive the procedure. It also directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a report outlining additional actions to protect medication abortion, expand access on emergency contraception and IUDs, and increase public education around reproductive rights. The Federal Trade Commission is also tasked with protecting the privacy of people seeking information about abortion services.