(CP) President Joe Biden has signed an executive order meant to "protect and expand access to abortion" in response to several states banning the controversial procedure after the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.
In an executive order released Friday, Biden said his administration was "taking action to protect healthcare service delivery and promote access to critical reproductive healthcare services, including abortion."
"It remains the policy of my Administration to support women's right to choose and to protect and defend reproductive rights. Doing so is essential to justice, equality, and our health, safety, and progress as a Nation," stated the order.
Biden ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to give him a report within 30 days outlining strategies with the intention to "protect and expand access to abortion care, including medication abortion."
This will include "launching a public awareness initiative," sharing information with providers on abortion access, and to hold a meeting with "private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations in order to encourage lawyers to represent and assist patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking these services throughout the country."
"The Attorney General shall provide technical assistance, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, concerning Federal constitutional protections to States seeking to afford legal protection to out-of-State patients and providers who offer legal reproductive healthcare," added the order.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion group formerly known as the Susan B. Anthony List, denounced Biden's executive order in a statement released Friday.
"Long gone is the Democratic Party of 'safe, legal, and rare.' President Biden has once again caved to the extreme abortion lobby, determined to put the full weight of the federal government behind promoting abortion," said its President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
"Democrats will stop at nothing to promote their agenda of abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayers — including dangerous mail-order abortion drugs — even if it means gutting the long-standing filibuster, increasing the size of the Supreme Court, or putting abortionists in tents in national parks."
Jamie L. Manson, president of the abortion advocacy group Catholics for Choice, applauded Biden's executive order but added that it was only a "first step" to protecting abortion access.
"While much of this requires action from Congress, the president has a number of additional tools at his disposal, including authorizing the use of federal property and resources to provide abortion services and overhauling agency regulations to maximize access to care, protect patients from discrimination, and preempt contradictory state laws," said Manson in a statement on Friday.
"Our pro-choice Catholic president is uniquely positioned to push back against the religious overreach of the Catholic hierarchy into secular government and assert, once and for all, that we are a nation that values true religious freedom."
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe in a 6-3 decision in a Mississippi abortion ruling known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, concluding that abortion was not a constitutional right and that states could individually determine their abortion laws.
As a result, several states have already banned elective abortions or have enacted greater restrictions, such as giving legal protection to preborn babies well before they reach viability.