July 14, 2022

Biden Considering Public Health Emergency Declaration over Abortion

photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday, July 10 that he is considering declaring a public health emergency to protect abortion access in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

According to the Associated Press, Biden told the reporters that his administration is trying to do a “lot of things to accommodate the rights of women.” Regarding a public health emergency declaration, Biden said that he asked officials “to look at whether I have the authority to do that and what impact that would have.”

White House Gender Policy Council Director Jen Klein responded to the press about the idea on Friday, July 8.

“When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple things: One is that it doesn’t free very many resources,” Klein told reporters. “It’s what’s in the public health emergency fund, and there’s very little money — tens of thousands of dollars in it. So that didn’t seem like a great option. And it also doesn’t release a significant amount of legal authority. And so that’s why we haven’t taken that action yet.”

Biden also reiterated on Sunday that his ultimate goal is to pass a federal law creating a right to abortion:
“...fundamentally, the only way to change this is if we have a national law that reinstates Roe v. Wade. That’s the bottom line. Everything else would be pieces of it, and I’m trying to do that. But as president, I don’t have the authority to say that we’re going to, you know, reinstate Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. The only way we do that is through an election of the United States Congress. In the meantime, states can make those judgments. But, so, my ultimate goal is to reinstate Roe v. Wade as a national law by passing it in the United States Congress. And I’ll sign it the moment that happens.”