U.S. President Joe Biden Friday called the U.S. Supreme Court “extremist” and “out of control” as he signed an executive order protecting women seeking access to reproductive health care following the court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The 5-4 decision by the court’s conservative majority reverses the landmark ruling establishing a legal right to seek an abortion across the United States. The court’s ruling now leaves it up to states to establish their own laws regarding abortion. So far, 13 states have established total bans on the procedure.
Speaking from the White House alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Biden said the decision was “not a constitutional decision but an exercise in raw political power.” He said it was not based on the constitution or history and was “just plain wrong.”
Biden said the fastest way to effectively restore Roe v. Wade is to codify it into law. He said to do that, he needs a Congress controlled by Democrats and urged people, especially women, to go out and “vote, vote, vote.”
In the meantime, the executive order he signed Friday seeks to safeguard access to abortion medication and emergency contraception, protect patient privacy and bolster legal options for those seeking access to such services.
The order directs Secretary Becerra to submit a report within 30 days that would address many of those items. Becerra is also charged with finding ways to increase public outreach so that those seeking reproductive health care services, including abortion, know how to access them.
The order also directs the U.S. Justice Department to safeguard abortion access where it remains legal, protect women from intimidation, and protect women’s right to travel to seek reproductive care.
Biden is also directing the attorney general and the White House counsel to convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage legal representation for those seeking or offering reproductive health services.