Last Updated on July 8, 2022
On Friday morning, President Biden signed an Executive Action aimed at “Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Services.” The order, euphemistically titled, is designed to enable the Federal Government to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which declared that there is no right to abortion in the Constitution.
The move by Biden comes after weeks of public pressure from his own party to take more extreme actions to counter the Dobbs decision. Such extreme policies are reflected in the order, which is largely designed to undermine pro-life policies in red states.
The order includes policies such as shielding both women getting an abortion and abortion providers in red states, “protecting the privacy” of women getting an abortion, reiterating that Conservative states cannot ban abortion drugs, and encouraging women to get abortions in states where the practice is still legal.
The action comes as Democrats continue to be underwater in polling for the upcoming midterm elections. Democrats, including Biden, believe their radical pro-abortion message will fare better with voters than the flailing economy, soaring inflation, or high gas prices. However, polling has actually worsened for Democrats since the Dobbs decision two weeks ago.
While executive actions are not as easily enforced as laws, the move still has the potential to interfere with the laws of individual states. If the executive action significantly undermines the rights of states to set their own laws regarding abortion, a legal battle is likely to occur.
Biden has not yet taken further action to promote abortion nationwide, such as opening clinics on federal lands or packing the Supreme Court to include more liberal justices. However, this order is a troubling sign that Biden will continue to fold to more radical elements of his party on the issue of abortion. Given that he has also come out in support of abolishing the filibuster to get pro-abortion legislation passed, it is not beyond reason to be concerned that more radical steps regarding abortion will be taken in the future.