WASHINGTON – President Biden on Thursday dismissed the Supreme Court’s refusal to block a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks, saying it “triggers unconstitutional chaos” against women and vowed that his administration would investigate how the federal government could protect existing constitutional abortion rights.
In a statement, the president said he had addressed a gender-focused policy council in the White House, the White House counselor’s office and the departments of Health and Human Services and Justice departments to “launch a government-wide effort ”” To respond to the court decision.
“Now complete strangers will have the power to inject themselves into the more private and personal health decisions women face,” Biden said. “This law is so extreme that it does not even allow exceptions in case of rape or incest.”
Texas law, known as SB 8, makes it difficult for officials to comply with Roe v. Wade, an important decision that establishes the right to abortion to the point of fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can keep life out of whack. the uterus or about 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The law allows anyone to file a lawsuit against anyone else involved in obtaining an abortion, including taxi drivers, receptionists, or relatives who provide money for the procedure, making it difficult for abortion rights activists. challenge their restrictions judicially. The law also encourages plaintiffs to police women who request the procedure by offering $ 10,000, in addition to legal fees, if they win in court.
The law, as Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris noted in statements this week, will disproportionately affect women of color: about 70 percent of abortions in Texas in 2019 were provided to women of color, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“Texas patients will now be forced to travel out of state or carry the pregnancy out against their will,” Ms. Harris said Wednesday.
The Supreme Court vote to leave the law in force was delivered by a majority of 5 to 4 on Wednesday evening. In the unsigned majority ruling, the judges tried to make it clear that Texas law was still the subject of stronger cases against it. But even that, Biden said, “would allow millions of women in Texas in need of critical reproductive care to suffer as courts go through procedural complexities.”
Next to the liberal wing of the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. he wrote that he would have blocked the law as appeals progressed.
“The legal scheme before the court is not only unusual, but unprecedented,” he wrote. “The legislature has imposed a ban on abortions after about six weeks and then delegated the application of this ban to the general population. The desired consequence seems to be to isolate the state from the responsibility to implement and to enforce the regulatory regime ”.
Learn about Texas abortion law
So far, the White House has offered few details on what the president or those in his administration could actually do to defang SB 8 or protect Roe from Wade. In its next term, which begins in October, the Supreme Court will address a different case to decide whether to overturn it.
Jen Psaki, a White House press secretary, said Wednesday that the president “would continue to call for Roe’s codification,” adding that Texas law “further highlights the need to move forward in this effort.”
On Thursday, he said administration officials were concerned that other states would quickly follow Texas’ leadership and pass similar bills.
“Of course, we are concerned that other states, where there is a movement and an effort to prevent women from accessing health care, will copy what has happened in Texas,” she said. Florida and Arkansas officials have already said they intend to introduce measures similar to Texas law.
Other Democrats vowed to take steps to protect abortion rights. President Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that SB 8 “gives a disaster to Texas women” and added that when lawmakers return from their summer break, the House would pass the Texas Health Protection Act. women, which would provide new protections for access to abortion. This measure is unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to beat a potential filibuster and be considered in the Senate.