Decision on abortion to test Biden’s political plans | Health info

By CHRIS MEGERIAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — For weeks, White House officials have huddled with heads of state, advocates, medical professionals and others to prepare for a future without Roe v. Wade.

That future arrived on Friday, when the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Now, President Joe Biden’s plans will be tested in terms of policy and politics. He is expected to address the nation from the White House in remarks that will outline his approach to this new phase.

Biden and other Democrats hope to outrage the court’s decision to rally voters in November’s midterm elections. Although national legislation guaranteeing access to abortion seems out of reach, more Democratic victories at the state level could limit Republican efforts to ban the practice.

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The White House has also explored options for Biden to take executive action to protect abortion rights, but his options are limited.

Lawrence Gostin, who directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health at Georgetown Law, said ahead of Friday’s decision that he expected the Biden administration to ‘chop around the edges and do nothing’. really deep. ”

Gostin said he has discussed a variety of options with administration officials, but believes they are “coy” given the potential for legal challenges that could lead to more roadblocks from the part of a US Supreme Court currently dominated by conservatives.

Some of Gostin’s suggestions included that Medicaid cover travel costs across state lines to terminate pregnancies, as well as expanding access to abortion drugs that can be delivered by mail.

“States couldn’t choose which cancer drug they would allow, and they shouldn’t be allowed to choose what options women have for medical abortions that are fully approved as safe and effective,” he said.

Alexandra LaManna, a White House spokeswoman, said earlier this week that the president “believes we should stand up for the right of all Americans to make their own decisions,” and she added that Republican policies “include abortion bans without exception for rape or incest, and criminalizing women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them.

During their preparations, White House officials held a series of meetings with advocates, medical groups and religious leaders who support abortion access.

The Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, drove from Cleveland to Washington, DC, to attend a meeting earlier this month. Another virtual meeting took place this week, with Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It was pretty impressive to see the commitment from the White House and the vice president’s office to bringing together advocates from across the country,” Dorhauer said.

However, there are also fears that the administration is not ready.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwestern Missouri, attended a recent virtual meeting with abortion providers and said she expects ” a real health crisis.

“I think we should have been preparing for a lot longer than we have been,” McNicholas said. “Do I think they recognize that it’s a problem? Yes. Do I think they are prepared right now? Nope.”

Associated Press writers Will Weissert and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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