On June 24, 2020, the day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned lawmaking authority over abortion back to the people and their elected representatives, President Joe Biden pledged to try to protect and expand access to abortion.
“I will do all in my power to protect a woman’s right in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision,” President Biden said. “My administration will remain vigilant as the implications of this decision play out.”
Today, President Biden signed an executive order taking a significant step in that direction.
In the executive order, according to a summary provided by the White House, President Biden directs Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to take the following actions (note that these actions are in the words of the White House):
- Protect Access to Medication Abortion. HHS will take additional action to protect and expand access to abortion care, including the abortion pill.
- Ensure Emergency Medical Care.
- Protect Access to Contraception. HHS will take additional actions to expand access to the full range of reproductive health services … such as access to emergency contraception.
- Launch Outreach and Public Education Efforts. HHS will increase outreach and public education efforts regarding access to reproduction health care services – including abortion.
- Convene Volunteer Lawyers. The Attorney General and the White House Counsel will convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country.
In addition, according to the White House, the executive order will:
- Protect Consumers from Privacy Violations and Fraudulent and Deceptive Practices. The President has asked the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking steps to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive health care services.
- Protect Sensitive Health Information. HHS will consider additional actions … to better protect sensitive information related to reproductive health care.
In his remarks prior to signing the executive order this morning, the president, unintentionally, conceded that Roe v. Wade was in essence a legislative decision which should have been enacted by the people and their elected legislators, not nine unelected lawyers in Roe.
“The court now practically dares the women of America to go to the ballot box and restore the very rights they’ve just taken away,” the president said. “The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law codifying Roe which I will sign immediately upon its passage” (emphasis in original).
If a Supreme Court opinion can become legislation, was it really an opinion in the first place? Or was it legislation dressed up as a judicial opinion?
In his majority opinion in Dobbs two weeks ago, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “The scheme Roe produced looked like legislation, and the Court provided the sort of explanation that might be expected from a legislative body.”
He was exactly right.
In a statement regarding this morning’s executive order, Focus on the Family Vice President Paul Batura said that the executive order, “claims to protect women’s health [but] actually does the opposite by prioritizing the killing of innocent children and jeopardizing the well-being of mothers.”
“A truly ‘pro-choice’ position would promote adoption and increase resources for moms who wish to parent their children. America’s women deserve better.”
To connect with a local pregnancy resource center that can discuss all of your pregnancy options with you, click here.
Additionally, if you’re struggling and need a listening ear, Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.
Photo from Reuters.