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Biden signs order bolstering abortion rights

On Friday, US President Joe Biden announced multiple steps aimed at bolstering abortion rights. This came as a response to growing demands from activists and protesters to take bolder and more forceful actions in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Joe Biden organised a joint press conference with Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House, he gave fiery and angry remarks from the Roosevelt Room and then signed an executive order to enhance access to abortion.

“The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,” President Biden said. “The challenge is: go out and vote. For God’s sake there is an election in November!” he added.

Biden’s action formalised instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to access federally approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services.

Join me as I make an announcement on protecting access to reproductive health care services.

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 8, 2022

Executive Order on Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services

The executive order dictates that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will submit a report to the president that will include information on potential actions that can be implemented to protect access to abortion and other “reproductive healthcare services”, inform about reproductive rights and identify steps to ensure all patients receive “full protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law”.

The order also states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consider actions … to ensure the safety of patients, providers, and third parties, and to protect the security of clinics”.

Moreover, the executive order also establishes the creation of a new Task Force that will “work to identify and coordinate activities to protect and strengthen access to essential reproductive healthcare services”.

Today I signed an Executive Order to protect the reproductive rights of women in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It formalizes the actions I announced right after the decision and will add new measures to protect women’s health.

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 8, 2022

Abortion in America

On June 24, the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised women’s constitutional right to abortion and led to its legalisation nationwide.

The ruling meant that in many parts of the US abortion laws introduced by the states would come into force and subsequently prohibit abortion in some states and impose restrictions on abortions in others.

According to the New York Times, there are currently 10 states where abortion is banned. The daily made a list encompassing which laws are currently enforced in which state:

States, where abortion is banned, including in the cases of rape and incest: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missury, Louisiana, South Dacota, Texas and West Virginia.

States where abortion is prohibited after the point of fertilisation: Oklahoma.

States which ban nearly all abortions and make performing them a felony: Wisconsin.

States where abortion would be banned after a point during the pregnancy, but has been blocked by the courts: Arizona (15 weeks), Kentucky (6 weeks) and Utah (18 weeks).

States which will soon prohibit abortion in its entirety, or after a point during the pregnancy: Idaho, North Dakota, Tenessee and Wyoming (6 weeks).

States where abortion is restricted after a point during the pregnancy: Ohia (6 weeks), South Carolina (6 weeks), Florida (15 weeks).

States which will soon restrict abortion after a point during the pregnancy: Georgia (6 weeks).

States that “have signaled an interest in restricting abortion”: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Karolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

States “Where abortion is likely to remain protected”: Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

Abortion advocates

Protests over the Supreme Court overruling of Roe v. Wade sparked nationwide protests across the US with many devolving into riots as government buildings were targeted by vandals and pregnancy clinics were set ablaze.

While abortion activists generally welcomed the move, many said it would likely do little for women in states where abortion is regulated.

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