President Biden is calling on Congress to codify protections for abortion in federal law, pressuring lawmakers on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that was struck down last year.
“Today, instead of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, we are acknowledging that last year, the Supreme Court took away a constitutional right from the American people,” Biden said in a statement early Sunday.
Ever since the Supreme Court, with a majority of conservative justices, struck down the constitutional protection for abortion, Democrats have pushed for legislative action to protect abortion with federal law. But with slim majorities in the last Congress, Democrats were unable to pass such legislation. And with Republicans now in control of the House, the fight to codify abortion access at the federal level is more steep than before.
But that hasn’t stopped Biden from using the powers of the Oval Office to provide further protections for access to abortion. He is expected to issue a presidential memorandum that will ensure doctors can prescribe and dispense medication abortion across the U.S.
Vice President Harris is expected to announce the move in a speech in Florida on Sunday afternoon marking the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Biden on Sunday also took aim at Republicans who have worked to further restrict abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional protection. Republicans in legislatures in a number of states have passed laws to restrict or outlaw abortion completely.
“Republicans in Congress and across the country continue to push for a national abortion ban, to criminalize doctors and nurses, and to make contraception harder to access,” the president said. “It’s dangerous, extreme, and out of touch.”
The GOP has made addressing abortion one of the main priorities in its new House majority. Republicans passed a bill in the House that would require that all infants born after an attempted abortion receive medical care, one of the first bills to reach the floor in the new session.