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Biden will meet with 10 Democratic governors to discuss abortion access


Abortion rights protesters march past the homes of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in Chevy Chase, Maryland on June 29, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is meeting with several Democratic governors on Friday afternoon to discuss what the administration and states can do to ensure women have access to abortion in America following the Supreme Court ruling. last week which overturned Roe v. Wade.

The president announced the meeting Thursday at a NATO summit in Madrid, where he told reporters that he and the governors would seek ideas on how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade that established a constitutional right to abortion.

A White House official confirmed the list of attendees for the 1 p.m. meeting, which includes:

  1. Governor Kathy Hochul of New York
  2. Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina
  3. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico
  4. Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut
  5. Governor Jared Polis of Colorado
  6. Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois
  7. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington
  8. Governor Kate Brown of Oregon
  9. Governor Gavin Newsom of California
  10. Governor Daniel McKee of Rhode Island

The slate of Democratic governors, who make up about a third of the country’s women, reflects the state-by-state divide over abortion access in the United States after the Supreme Court overturned it.

At least 13 states have laws in effect that either immediately ban abortion or will soon do so. Abortion bans in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Alabama went into effect as soon as Roe was overturned, but judges in Louisiana, Kentucky and Utah blocked these laws from taking effect immediately.

Blue states, such as New York and California, will continue to allow pregnancy termination.

Echoing the belief of many Democrats, Biden said Thursday that the reversal “is a serious and serious problem that the Supreme Court has imposed on the United States.”

“I will do everything in my power to protect abortion, as well as push Congress and the public,” he said.

But the implications of the recent High Court ruling are still being sorted out at the state level, leaving federal agencies scrambling to navigate an evolving patchwork of laws and jurisdictions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Tuesday acknowledged the complexity of the situation.

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Becerra told reporters that federal law requires US health agencies to grant abortion drugs in exceptional circumstances, such as when the woman’s life is in danger or in the event of a sexual assault.

But he declined to go into detail about the federal government’s aggressiveness in fighting state restrictions on abortion outside of these extreme cases, saying, “We’re going to stay within the bounds of the law. “.

Biden said Thursday he would support a Democratic-led effort to suspend a procedural rule in the Senate that would make it easier for lawmakers to codify the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law.

Democrats in the equally divided House have long sought to pass legislation that would make the Roe decision federal law. While most bills require a simple majority to pass, Republicans were able to block any attempt to codify Roe by invoking filibuster, a procedural rule that requires 60 votes in the 50-50 split chamber to close the bill. debate and proceed to a vote.

Suspending that rule, seen as a political and legislative “nuclear option,” is risky for Democrats since Republicans could do the same if the GOP wins back the Senate in November’s midterm elections.

Biden’s support for the suspension might not be enough either way. While the filibuster could be changed by a simple majority vote, not all Senate Democrats are behind the idea of ​​throwing in a way to check future Republican majorities.

Moderate Sens Democrats. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, for example, said they were against changes to the filibuster rules.

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