Biden’s inability to respond to Democrats’ bold demands after abortion ruling-source According to Reuters

© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden attends a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Moncloa Palace ahead of the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022. REUTERS / Juan Medina

By Nandita Bose and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is unlikely to take the bold steps to protect women’s abortion rights that Democratic lawmakers have called for in recent days, interviews with officials say shows.

In the speech after deciding Roe vs. Wade stepped back on Friday, President Joe Biden criticized the Supreme Court’s “radical ideology” as conservative, but said afterwards there was little he could do under executive orders to protect protect women’s reproductive rights. the rights.

Since then, lawmakers including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have asked Biden to limit Supreme Court jurisdiction or expand membership, ending the “skip” rule. of the legislature, building abortion clinics on federal land, declaring a national emergency, and establishing Planned Parenthood outposts outside the national parks of the United States, among other options .

More than 30 Democrats in the Senate signed a letter to Biden, calling on him to ‘fight back,’ take “bold action” and “make a national response to this devastating decision.” ” after the court overturned the right to abortion.

But the White House is pursuing a more limited set of policy responses while urging voters and Congress to act. The White House plans include a series of executive actions in the coming days, as well as promises to protect women who cross the line for abortion and to support medical abortion.

Biden and officials are concerned that more radical moves will polarize politics ahead of the midterm elections in November, undermining public trust in institutions like the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court. lacks a solid legal basis, sources inside and outside the White House said.

Biden is “telling people the truth and putting the focus where it’s needed, keeping Republicans in the face of the harm they’re doing,” a White House official said when asked about the strategy.

Biden is “fighting vigorously in law enforcement – through protecting access to medicine and protecting interstate travel – while pushing for the rule of law.”

Defending abortion rights is a top issue for Democratic women, a Reuters poll shows. Some medical experts and Democrats have complained that the White House has wrongly predicted when the ruling will be issued, but has not yet responded on the matter.

“The White House has a month, if not a year, to plan for this and they should have actually come up with a plan of action,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University. was in the white paper at the time Dobbs was published. and faculty director of the Institute of National and Global Health Law. “The impression is that the White House is leading from behind, that they have been caught by foot.”

Here’s what might and might not happen, in the coming weeks, based on interviews with White House officials, outside advisers, congressional aides and legal experts. physical.


Some legal experts, constitutional scholars and angry Democrats say recent Supreme Court rulings, including on abortion, undermine the court’s legitimacy, a partly because they do not reflect popular opinion.

But the White House has not made public the idea of ​​reforming the court or expanding the nine-member panel, a choice promoted by Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Radical party.

Separately, Biden has expressed skepticism about a range of Supreme Court reform proposals, including limiting the power of the courts, setting term limits for judges and strengthening ethics rules. ethical and transparent, according to one participant in conversations a few weeks before Supreme most recently. Court decisions.

The person said last week’s ruling is unlikely to change his mind. An expert committee set up by Biden to review the Supreme Court’s standoff over reform proposals in December.


Biden did not endorse removing the Senate’s annulment rule that would have allowed them to pass federal legislation that would make abortion legal with a simple majority. Democrats have just 50 votes in the 100-seat Senate – not enough to get through an argument – and Republicans have lined up against proposals to make abortion a legal right nationwide.

Some Democratic lawmakers want to eliminate that status altogether, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And Republicans plan to scrap it to pass legislation banning abortion nationwide, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said this week.

Biden has only approved of Congress suspending minutes-taking in limited circumstances, such as to pass voting rights legislation or raise the debt ceiling.

White House officials worry Democrats currently don’t have enough votes to support removing voters from the abortion bill and see political risks to Biden supporting the idea . Important votes, especially Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposed the removal of the protest act.


Two sources explained that the White House did not support a call to allow abortion providers to work from federal property, out of concern the federal government would not be able to keep them safe inside or out. asset.

Providing federal funding to women traveling out of state could violate the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions except in situations where the mother’s life is at risk. , rape or incest, two sources said.

A White House official said the idea was well-intentioned, but it put women and service providers at risk. “In states where abortion is currently illegal, women and service providers who are not federal employees can be prosecuted,” the official said.


The sources said the White House could take executive action in the coming days and is pushing federal agencies to issue notices about steps they will take to protect women’s right to reproductive care. female.

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the federal government will protect access to medical abortion, protect health professionals who perform abortions, and is closely monitoring medical abortions. states that violate women’s rights.

Officials plan to meet with activists and are considering proposals to protect a woman’s right to travel to another state for an abortion or fund travel to another state using using Medicaid funds.

Separately, Pelosi outlined specific legislation Democrats would consider including protecting women from criminal prosecution if they travel out of state for abortions and protecting women’s personal data. Hosted in reproductive health apps from state legislators.

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