President Biden is expected to sign an executive order Friday aimed at protecting and expanding access to abortion procedures.
The move is in response to the Supreme Court‘s decision last month to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion a right under the U.S. Constitution.
“President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law,” the White House said in a statement announcing the measure. “Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
The measure directs the Health and Human Services Department to take additional action to “protect and expand access to abortion care, including access to medication that the FDA approved as safe and effective,” ensure abortion patients have access to emergency medical care, and to expand access to contraception.
The measure also directs HHS to expand outreach and education efforts centered around abortion and form a cadre of lawyers and public interest organizations to provide legal representation to abortion patients facing legal challenges in connection with seeking or having an abortion or post-abortion medical care.
Other provisions included in the order provide for the safety and security of abortion providers and establish an interagency task force on abortion access.
During his address on the day the Supreme Court decision was handed down, Mr. Biden said his hands were tied on codifying the protections into law, but he promised his administration would not back down from the fight.
Still, some Democratic voters have grown frustrated with what some have said is a muted response from the administration over the Supreme Court ruling, which was leaked weeks before the justices officially announced the decision.
The administration has so far rejected calls to pack the Supreme Court with additional liberal justices, to tip the scales against conservatives.
The president has, however, said he would back the Senate sidestepping the filibuster to vote on codifying the protections under Roe into law. With the filibuster in place, Democrats are all but certain to fall short of the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
Mr. Biden has cast the decision as a rallying cry for Democrats ahead of this year’s midterm elections, which are expected to be a challenging election season amid skyrocketing inflation, rising crime and elevated gas prices.
“Voters need to make their voices heard. This fall we must elect more senators and representatives who can codify the woman’s right to choose into federal law,” Mr. Biden said from the White House last month when the Supreme Court decision was handed down. “Congress must act. With your vote, you can have the final word.”
• This article was based in part on wire service reports.