Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Thursday that would prevent the White House from using federal emergency authority to expand access to abortion and target states that seek to enforce restrictions on the procedure.
The Prohibiting Federal Emergencies for Abortion Act was drafted in response to reports that President Biden is considering issuing executive orders in response to the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on abortion, which could include declaring a public health emergency.
“President Biden and Democrats are hell-bent on preserving the practice of murdering unborn Americans,” Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, told The Washington Times. “We should be protecting the lives of innocent babies, not Planned Parenthood’s ability to kill them. I will do everything I can to protect life and block this gross abuse of presidential power.”
The legislation would bar the president and future presidents from using their authority to expand abortion services under the National Emergencies Act, the Public Health Service Act, and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, also known as the Stafford Act.
The bill would also prohibit the White House and HHS from declaring a public health emergency for “promoting, supporting, or expanding access to abortion” and “prohibiting, restricting, or providing for litigation against states that outlaw abortion.”
Cosponsoring the legislation are Republican Sens. Jim Risch, Roger Marshall, Thom Tillis, Steve Daines, Mike Braun, Kevin Cramer, Jerry Moran, Josh Hawley, James Lankford, Rick Scott, Mike Crapo and Marsha Blackburn.
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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to rule any day now on whether states may ban pre-viability abortions in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
A draft opinion leaked on May 2 showed that the court has a majority for the ruling that would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Mr. Biden broached the possibility of responding with executive orders in a June 8 appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“I think what we’re going to have to do is that there are some executive orders I could employ, we believe. We’re looking at that right now,” Mr. Biden said.
Such orders could include directing the HHS to preempt state medical licensing boards to allow doctors to travel between states to perform abortions.
Senate Democrats have urged the administration and Congress to mount a “whole-of-government” response to the Dobbs ruling by, for example, expanding access to abortion pills by mail, providing travel vouchers to pregnant women, and offering services on federal property and military bases in states with tough abortion laws.
Mr. Rubio pledged last week to do “everything I can to protect life and block this outrageous presidential power grab.”