Last Updated on July 11, 2022
President Joe Biden said he may declare a public health emergency to push back on the Supreme Court’s recent decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Biden said he will have to talk with his staff to see if he “has the authority” to declare such an emergency.
The Democrat president explained his goal of protecting abortion federally. “My ultimate goal is to reinstate Roe v. Wade as national law by passing it in the United States Congress, and I’ll sign it the moment that happens,” he said.
A bill that would legalize abortion federally failed to pass Congress in May of this year. The failed legislation was co-sponsored by 48 Senate Democrats and sought to legalize abortion through the first six months of pregnancy.
This legislation would have forced states to even allow abortion in the last trimester if healthcare officials deemed the pregnancy could harm the mother’s physical or mental health.
President Biden also encouraged abortion advocates to “keep protesting.”
“Keep protesting. Keep making your point. It’s critically important. We can do a lot of things to accommodate the rights of women.”
President Joe Biden said he has asked his administration to consider whether he has the authority to declare an abortion-related public health emergency after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision https://t.co/PXcUjAf4LG pic.twitter.com/1IfTuTpSyM
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 10, 2022
Despite Biden suggesting he may roll out a public health emergency to protect abortion, Jen Klein, the director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said it “didn’t seem like a great option.”
“When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple things: One is that it doesn’t free very many resources,” Klein explained Friday.
“It’s what’s in the public health emergency fund, and there’s very little money — tens of thousands of dollars in it. So that didn’t seem like a great option. And it also doesn’t release a significant amount of legal authority. And so that’s why we haven’t taken that action yet.”
Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre echoed Klein’s comments Monday afternoon.
Asked how seriously Pres. Biden is considering declaring a public health emergency in support of abortion access, press sec. Jean-Pierre says “everything is on the table.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 11, 2022
While Biden signed an executive order last week which directed the Department of Health and Human Services to protect emergency medical care for pregnant mothers, a public health emergency would allow pregnant women in states where abortion is illegal to receive abortive medication from their healthcare providers.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.