President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling that narrowly (5-4) kept alive Texas’ ‘heartbeat’ law banning abortions after 6 weeks. Both leaders promised to take steps to ensure that women have access to abortion.
This Wednesday night, September 1, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Texas which was sued by abortion clinics over its ‘heartbeat’ law that basically bans abortions starting at six weeks, when a heartbeat can be detected.
According to The Hill, Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House of Representatives will vote on a bill to guarantee access to abortion upon her return to Washington on Sept. 20.
The Speaker said they will vote on a bill by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) to legally protect a person who wants an abortion and to make abortion clinics provide abortion services.
“Upon our return, the House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America,” the Democratic leader said.
Pelosi said the Texas pro-life law is ‘a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health’ and noted that there is a need of ‘codifying Roe v. Wade’ an idea Democrats have mentioned in the past to expand abortion access.
Roe v. Wade is a landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States. The Supreme Court understood at the time that a woman’s right to abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
President Joe Biden also reacted to the Court’s ruling and said Thursday:
“I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision,” in addition to reviewing what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”
Biden referred in his remarks to the unusual aspect of the Texas law:
Instead of using the state to enforce the ban, in which case it would have been easier for the Court to uphold the abortion clinics since the 14th Amendment speaks exclusively of the government not intruding on women’s privacy, it is offering rewards of up to $10,000 to citizens who report women or clinics that attempt to perform abortions.
“Rather than use its supreme authority to ensure justice could be fairly sought, the highest Court of our land will allow millions of women in Texas in need of critical reproductive care to suffer while courts sift through procedural complexities,” Biden criticized the ruling.
The Texas ban on abortions comes as a blow to the Biden administration and Democrats overall as during his campaign the president promised to make Roe ‘the law of the land’ in response to the Supreme Court having a conservative majority.
However, Republican states have been moving away from abortions, placing restrictions, and seeking to ban them completely.
The Texas pro-life law will prohibit more than 90 percent of abortions in the most populous state of the country as women seeking abortions do so after six weeks.
The Supreme Court will have another similar challenge that will also impact the Roe v. Wade ruling when it comes to examining a Mississippi state law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.