By Marie Smith, Director, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues
A Proclamation issued by President Biden during National Women’s Health Week reiterated his support for abortion in addressing “the health and well-being of women and girls across our Nation.” Biden proclaimed, “Central to this mission is protecting women’s fundamental rights to make their own choices and build their own future. I am committed to defending women’s rights, including their access to reproductive health care. Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years; basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned. In response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights across the country, my Administration is exploring all the tools at our disposal to strengthen and protect women’s access to critical reproductive health care.”
He continued the pro-abortion promotion connecting access to abortion with women’s equality stating that “there is still more work to do –- including to defend reproductive rights, which are under unprecedented attack, and to ensure we do not go backwards on women’s equality.”
Meanwhile, Biden’s Director of the White House Gender Policy Council Director and the Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs held a meeting with leading pro-abortion state legislators to discuss laws designed to ensure access to abortion in light of the anticipated Supreme Court decision which will return the power to make laws on abortion to individual states.
The readout of the meeting explains, “This important discussion follows the passage of proactive reproductive rights measures in at least 10 states so far in the 2022 legislative session, including in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. These actions to protect and expand access to reproductive health care stand in sharp contrast to a wave of abortion bans and restrictions that have passed in states across the country.”
During the discussion, state lawmakers “shared the steps they have taken so far to protect access to abortion, as well as plans to further expand care” and the participants “discussed ways the Administration can support state and local efforts.”
The Biden officials “underscored their support for state action to strengthen reproductive rights.”
Also, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Loyce Pace delivered the U.S. remarks to the 75th World Health Assembly by telling the delegations that “the quest for health and peace is not new, but it is enduring”. She then emphasized that “under President Biden’s leadership, the United States is continuing this critical work every day. We are promoting universal health coverage and health equity, including advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights…”
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is being used to advance access to abortion. Abortion is included as part of “sexual and reproductive health interventions” during pregnancy in the WHO UHC Compendium, beginning as a health intervention for girls ages 10-14 years old.
And Biden’s new press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement on passage of the “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” which prohibits abortion when a heartbeat is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Jean-Pierre mentioned that Roe has been “the law of the land for almost 50 years” describing the action by the Oklahoma legislature as “the most extreme effort to undo these fundamental rights we have seen to date”. She called the state action “part of a growing effort by ultra MAGA officials across the country to roll back the freedoms we should not take for granted in this country.”
Despite the clear writing by Justice Alito in the leaked Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs that the opinion is only about abortion and no other issue, she contended, “They are starting with reproductive rights, but the American people need to know that other fundamental rights, including the right to contraception and marriage equality, are at risk.”