Biden considering executive actions to counter SCOTUS overrule of abortion rights

According to a leaked draft copy of a majority opinion last month, the Supreme Court appears set to overturn the precedent set on abortion rights by 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling and revert the right to regulate such procedures back to the individual states.

Now comes word that President Joe Biden is considering a variety of executive actions to try and counter pro-life moves by Republican-led states if, in fact, the court does strike down the prior decision that federalized abortion rights, the Conservative Brief reported.

In truth, though, the president can only tinker around the margins of the issue via executive orders and would actually need Congress to pass legislation to fully protect or expand abortion rights at the federal level nationwide.

A variety of executive actions on abortion rights are under consideration

According to Newsmax, a recent report indicated that President Biden and his team were reviewing several potential executive orders that could be issued to ostensibly protect women seeking abortions in Republican-led states that would substantially limit access to the fatal procedures for the unborn.

Some of the ideas included declaring a national public health emergency over abortion rights, siccing the Justice Department on red states that crack down on access to abortions or contraceptives, or even having the Food and Drug Administration issue approvals for abortifacients that would theoretically override any state-level legislation.

However, as noted, if the high court does indeed strike down Roe, President Biden does not have the authority to reinstate abortion as a federal right without Congress first doing so through legislation that clears both the House and Senate — a virtual impossibility given the current makeup of the legislative body.

WH “continues to explore every possible option”

The idea that Biden’s White House might try to use executive action, along with an act of Congress, to work around an adverse Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights isn’t entirely a surprise, as it has been floated before.

The Washington Examiner reported that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday, “The administration continues to explore every possible option in response to the anticipated Supreme Court decision,” but added a moment later, “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, we will need Congress to take action to restore Roe.”

Just one week before that, according to The Hill, during an interview with late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, President Biden said with regard to the potential overturning of Roe, “There’s some executive orders I could employ, we believe. We’re looking at that right now.”

The outlet further noted that White House officials have held numerous meetings with state officials and activists to get a better idea of exactly what might occur in different states if the Supreme Court really does rule against abortion rights at the federal level, likely in an effort to specifically tailor its potential executive orders to address particular issues that might arise.

Biden knows he can’t do it alone

Looming large over all of this, however, is the reality that, without legislation from Congress, there really is very little that Biden can do with mere executive action that is largely non-binding — a reality that Biden alluded to in his initial statement following the leak in which he called upon the American people to vote for pro-abortion lawmakers at the state and federal level.

“If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November,” Biden said at that time. “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

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