Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 22° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Under pressure, Biden issues executive order on abortion

July 8, 2022 Updated Fri., July 8, 2022 at 8:59 p.m.

By Michael D. Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg New York Times

WASHINGTON — Under pressure to do more to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden on Friday issued an executive order that aimed to ensure access to abortion medication and emergency contraception while preparing for legal fights to come.

But the order is vague about how the president hopes to accomplish those goals, leaving the details largely to Xavier Becerra, his secretary of health and human services, who has said the administration has “no magic bullet” that can restore access to abortion.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden condemned the court’s decision as “terrible, extreme and, I think, so totally wrongheaded.”

The order directs Becerra to develop a report “identifying potential actions” to protect access to abortion but does not say what those actions will be. Becerra will identify “steps” to ensure that pregnant women have access to emergency care, it says, by “considering updates to current guidance on obligations specific to emergency conditions and stabilizing care.”

The order directs Becerra to report back to Biden in 30 days.

In an effort to prepare for legal challenges from opponents of abortion, the order directs the attorney general and the White House counsel to “convene a meeting of private pro bono attorneys, bar associations and public interest organizations to encourage robust legal representation.”

In response to concerns that those seeking abortions could be prosecuted using personal information in emails, texts or web searches, the order seeks to safeguard patient privacy regarding data about women’s health services.

The order pledges that the administration will “ensure the safety of patients, providers and third parties” who are delivering or receiving abortion services. But it does not say how agencies will ensure that amid heightened tensions after the Supreme Court’s decision.

Becerra has said his agency will work with the Justice Department to ensure that women have access to abortion pills in places where state law conflicts with the judgment of the Food and Drug Administration, which approved the drugs for use.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.