“I do not have the authority to say that we are going to reinstate Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” he said, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the national right to abortion. Biden said that Congress would have to codify that right and for that to have a better chance in the future, voters would have to elect more lawmakers who support abortion access.
Biden said his administration is trying to do “a lot of things to accommodate women’s rights” after the ruling, including possibly declaring a public health emergency to free up federal resources. Such a move has been pushed by advocates, but White House officials have questioned both its legality and effectiveness, noting that it would almost certainly face legal challenges.
The president said he has asked officials “to see if I have the authority to do that and what impact it would have.”
On Friday, Jen Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said that “didn’t seem like a great option.”
“When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple of things: One is that it doesn’t release a lot of resources,” he told reporters. “It is what is in the public health emergency fund, and there is very little money, tens of thousands of dollars. So it didn’t seem like a great option. And it doesn’t release a significant amount of legal authority either. And that’s why we haven’t taken that action yet.”
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