President Joe Biden criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for making “terrible decisions,” a day after it struck down the constitutional right to abortion.
Biden commented during a signing ceremony Saturday for gun safety bill he supports, though he continued to sidestep questions about reforms to the court sought by some Democrats.
“I think the Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions,” the president said after signing the bill when a reporter asked whether the court was broken. He didn’t respond to other questions, such as on court or filibuster reform, before heading off to Europe for international summits.
Biden began his remarks on guns by renewing his condemnation of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade. He said his administration will do what it can to enforce what laws still stand, such as allowing people to cross state lines to seek health services.
“Jill and I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” he said with first lady Jill Biden at his side. “We’re going to take actions to protect women’s rights and reproductive health.”
Biden has warned that executive authority is substantially limited, leaving him few or no options to fill the gaps created by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. He has called on Congress to instead pass a law codifying Roe — though there aren’t sufficient votes for that in the current Congress — and for voters to elect more Democrats.
Biden acknowledged the limits of his powers in an initial reaction on Friday, while signaling that Democrats would make abortion rights a campaign theme for midterm elections in November.
“The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose, and the balance that existed, is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law,” he said. “No executive action from the president can do that.”
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot, personal freedoms are on the ballot, the right to privacy, liberty, equality — they’re all on a ballot,” Biden said.
Biden has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure that mifepristone, an abortion drug, can be prescribed by telehealth and through pharmacies, and to make sure insurers don’t stop covering contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, an official familiar with the process said Friday.
The Department of Justice will support the right to travel and look to intervene in cases on behalf of people facing legal action for traveling to receive an abortion, the official said.
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