Democratic senators urge Biden to issue executive order to preserve abortion rights
A group of Democratic senators led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) are urging President Biden to protect abortion rights via an executive order ahead of a potential Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
What they're saying: "[A]s President of the United States, you have the unique power to marshal the resources of the entire federal government to respond," the senators wrote in a letter to the president, adding that "[a]bortion access is under attack in the United States and already completely eliminated in swaths of the country."
- The senators said Biden has already taken executive action on issues like racism, voting and the economy. "Now is the time for equally bold action to protect the right to an abortion," they wrote.
State of play: The senators are asking the administration to direct federal agencies to increase access to abortion pills, support people who travel out-of-state to get the procedure, and use federal property and resources to increase abortion access "especially in states where such services are limited by state law or regulation."
- They want Biden to issue the executive order within 30 days, saying that Americans deserve "no less than a whole-of-government response."
The White House said in a statement it "continues to explore every possible option in response [to] the anticipated Supreme Court decision."
Between the lines: Biden has in the past called on Congress to codify abortion rights federally as states continue to enact restrictive laws across the country. But Democrats don't have the votes in Congress to pass such a law without Republican support.
What to watch: The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision this month on a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and other precedents that protect abortion access.
- If Roe is overturned, abortion will immediately become illegal in 13 states, with more expected to follow suit.