US President Joe Biden addresses the nation on June 24, 2022 at the White House in Washington, DC after the US Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in their remarks on Tuesday, 100 days after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional right of Roe v. Wade to end an unwanted pregnancy, highlights the GOP’s push to roll back access to abortion.
“Today, extremist so-called leaders are attacking the freedom of millions of women at the state level. In Arizona, for example, a judge recently upheld an 1864 ban on abortion — that’s not a law, that’s the year — 1864 with no exceptions “rape or incest,” Harris said, noting a similar 1849 ban in Wisconsin. “That was 173 years ago . And notice that back then, women didn’t have the right to vote either.”
More than a dozen Republican-run states — most of which do not allow exceptions for rape or incest — have effectively banned abortion since the court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling that restored that authority to states. The changes have affected nearly 30 million women of childbearing age, 22 million of whom will be unable to access an abortion after six weeks, according to the White House.
“Extreme abortion bans have consequences beyond abortion, including reports of women being denied access to necessary prescriptions and contraceptives at pharmacies and on college campuses,” wrote Jennifer Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council , in a previously released memo from Biden’s meeting with his Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access.
Speaking at the event, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris introduced new Department of Education guidelines reminding universities of their requirements to protect access to reproductive health care and new $6 million in grants to protect and expand reproductive health care Services Klein’s note.
Biden cited an incident at the University of Idaho where staff were advised to stop birth control after a statewide ban on abortion was enacted as impetus for the new guidelines.
“Guys, what century are we in? What do we do? I respect everyone’s personal choice, but sir, we’re talking about contraception here, it shouldn’t be so controversial,” Biden said.
He said he had instructed Education Minister Miguel Cardona to investigate the incident.
“Today I want to make it clear to college leaders in America: Access to contraception should not be compromised,” Cardona said. “And access to health care, including reproductive health care, is critical to the well-being and success of our nation’s students. If you are committed to student success, you must also be committed to student health.”
The meeting comes a month after midterm elections, in which Democrats risk losing control of one or both houses of Congress. The move puts a spotlight on the government’s work on access to abortion and is seen as a boost for candidates caught in tight races.
Some Republicans in Congress want to further restrict access to abortion. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham recently proposed a national abortion ban that would carry prison terms for doctors who perform it.