President Joe Biden announced from his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, that he is considering declaring a public health emergency in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade to free up federal resources for abortions.
Biden also encouraged the sometimes violent protesters that have damaged property and stalked Supreme Court justices at their homes and at public places.
“Keep protesting,” Biden said. “Keep making your point. It’s critically important.”
Politico reported on the development:
The president, in remarks to reporters during a stop on a bike ride near his family’s Delaware beach house, said he lacks the power to force the dozen-plus states with strict restrictions or outright bans on abortion to allow the procedure.
“I don’t have the authority to say that we’re going to reinstate Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision from 1973 that had established a national right to abortion. Biden said Congress would have to codify that right and for that to have a better chance in the future, voters would have to elect more lawmakers who support abortion access.
Biden said his administration is trying to do a “lot of things to accommodate the rights of women” after the ruling, including considering declaring a public health emergency to free up federal resources. Such a move has been pushed by advocates, but White House officials have questioned both its legality and effectiveness, and noted it would almost certainly face legal challenges.
But on Friday, Jen Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council, contradicted Biden, saying it “didn’t seem like a great option.”
“When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple things: One is that it doesn’t free very many resources,” Klein told reporters, according to Politico. “It’s what’s in the public health emergency fund, and there’s very little money — tens of thousands of dollars in it. So that didn’t seem like a great option.”