Jul 14, 2022 - Health

Senate Democrats call on Biden to declare public health emergency on abortion

Picture of Elizabeth Warren
Photo: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 20 Senate Democrats are urging President Biden to "immediately" declare a public health emergency on abortion following the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

Driving the news: "Millions of American women have been endangered by the Supreme Court’s reckless decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion," the senators, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), wrote in the letter.

  • "The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken important steps to defend abortion rights in response to escalating right-wing attacks, including through commitments to expand patient access to medication abortion, protect the right to travel to obtain abortion services, and defend the privacy of patients seeking reproductive care. But you have the power to do more to address this crisis."

Catch up fast: Biden said over the weekend that he is considering issuing a public health emergency on abortion, even after the White House said that it is not "a great option."

  • If an emergency declaration is issued, it remains unclear how federal funds would be used.
  • More than 80 House Democrats sent a letter to Biden earlier this week also requesting that he declare a public health emergency, as well as issue a national emergency declaration.

Zoom out: The Biden administration has taken steps to respond to the Supreme Court decision, including issuing guidance on performing abortions in emergency situations and on prescribed medication, as well as an executive order.

  • However, considering that abortion regulation is now a state issue, the executive branch cannot prevent states from banning or heavily restricting access to the procedure.

Read the letter:

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