President Joe Biden’s administration has continued to take steps to circumvent the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the Roe vs. Wade decision and again drew objections from a Southern Baptist leader and another life advocate.
Several federal agencies acted July 11-13 in the Biden administration’s latest attempts to thwart the June 24 High Court ruling, which returned abortion policy to the states by striking down the 1973 law. deer opinion that legalized abortion nationwide. Among them:
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on July 12 created the Reproductive Rights Task Force, which will monitor state and local legislation that restricts abortion and synchronize legal actions and other federal responses.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidelines on July 13 reminding approximately 60,000 pharmacies that they are required by federal law to provide access to reproductive health care, which include abortive drugs.
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement has prepared a memo that would allow certain pregnant women in detention centers in states with pro-life policies to be taken to other states for abortions. the wall street journal reported July 12.
- HHS on July 11 announced a new guideline to ensure pregnant women receive “emergency medical care,” including abortion services.
Brent Leatherwood, acting chairman of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told The Baptist Press (BP): “For years, a bipartisan consensus has ensured that taxpayers’ money should not be used for religious services. abortion to ensure that the conscience of millions of Americans are protected. These harmful initiatives are an effort to completely subvert this principle and will only foster an abortion environment that preys on women and puts innocent lives at risk.
“Following the Supreme Court’s decision, our nation’s resources should be mobilized to save lives by ending abortion, serve mothers and families in crisis, and establish a true culture of life that stretches from the federal level to every state,” he said in written comments.
“On the contrary, this development highlights the reality in which we find ourselves: the Dobbs decision did not mark the end of the pro-life movement, but the beginning of a new chapter. And in this new chapter, the pro-life witness of pastors, churches and pro-life Christians will be more important than ever.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Guptawho will chair the DOJ’s Reproductive Rights Task Force, described the Supreme Court’s rejection of deer as “a devastating blow to reproductive freedom”. However deer is no longer in effect, the DOJ is “committed to protecting access to reproduction services,” she said in a statement announcing the formation of the task force.
State and local measures the task force will monitor include those that ban the abortion pill, restrict a woman’s travel to another state for the procedure, and limit an individual’s ability to tell others about abortion services. abortion in another state, according to the DOJ statement. The working group will be made up of staff from different divisions and offices within the department. The DOJ works with abortion providers and advocates, according to the statement.
Chelsey YoumanNational Legislative Counsel for Human Coalition Action, said in written remarks for BP, “Rather than tending to the material and medical needs of women, the administration is choosing to redouble our efforts and prioritize the abortion as a solution, even after the Supreme Court authorized states to protect unborn lives from the moment of conception Blocking state regulations on the deadly abortion pill regimen is retrograde and extreme, and these actions show no respect for the humanity of unborn children.
“While the administration claims to protect women’s emergency medical care, women are already receiving that care, and the state’s pro-life laws allow it,” she said. “The administration is just positioning itself here, but thankfully the American public is not on board with this agenda.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider, hailed the creation of the DOJ task force as “a significant step” and urged government leaders “to continue to examine ways to mitigate the fallout from the court’s decision”. decision.”
Abortion rights advocates in Congress are also encouraging efforts to offset the Supreme Court’s decision.
In a week in which at least two abortion hearings have been held by Democratic-controlled committees in each chamber, the House of Representatives was set to vote on July 15 on two measures in a package of proposals legislative.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a sweeping right to abortion that would prohibit federal and state regulations of the procedure that even deer permit. The House approved a version of the bill in September 2021, but the Senate rejected consideration of the legislation in May.
The House will also vote on the Abortion Access Guarantee Act, which would prohibit abortion-banning states from banning travel to other states for the procedure. It would also prevent states from blocking the shipment of abortion pills across state lines.
The ERLC posted on its website on July 12 an explanation of the two bills, which the entity strongly opposes.
The actions of federal agencies followed a series of other moves by Biden and his administration since the judges struck down deer.
Biden signed an executive order on July 8 that included guidelines calling for expanded safeguards for access to life-ending drugs for unborn children, the creation of an interagency task force to coordinate protections for the access to abortion and the gathering of volunteer lawyers to represent women and abortion. suppliers.
day deer fell into the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationn opinion, the president announced that his administration would protect interstate travel for abortions and access to medical/chemical abortions. A few days later, the administration also created a new website that helps women find an abortion provider and obtain funds to pay for such a procedure.
Biden also called on Congress to codify deer into law through an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to end debate and take ground action on the legislation, but is unlikely with the current makeup of the chamber. He also urged voters to elect enough senators to establish broad abortion rights in federal law.
Some Democrats in Congress criticized Biden for not doing more to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court ruling. Among their proposals were calls for a declaration by Biden of a “public health emergency” and the opening of abortion clinics on federal lands in conservative states. The administration refused to take these measures.
Nearly half of the 50 states already have laws prohibiting abortion throughout pregnancy or at some stage of pregnancy, although courts have blocked enforcement of some.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)