Biden criticizes Supreme Court vote on Texas abortion ban, vows 'whole-of-government' response

Biden said he'll look at steps federal government can take to ensure women in Texas have access to abortions protected by Roe v. Wade.

Updated: September 2, 2021 - 2:03pm

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President Joe Biden on Thursday criticized the Supreme Court's overnight decision to allow a new Texas law banning most abortions in the state to continue and directed federal agencies to help "insulate women and providers" from the impact.

The Democratic president spoke after the high court’s conservative majority voted 5-4 not to block the new law, which bans most abortions in the state after six weeks. 

The Texas law, signed by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six week.

It is the strictest law against abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, according to the Associated Press.  

Biden said his administration will launch a "whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision" and look at "what steps the federal government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe."

He also said women should be protected from “the impact of Texas' bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties," the wire service also reports.

Biden, who has come under pressure from Democrats to expand the size of the Supreme Court, in an attempt to lessen its conservative leaning, has ordered a review of the court that is due next month.

The high court's order declining to halt the Texas law came just before midnight Wednesday. 

The majority said those bringing the case had not met the high burden required for a stay of the law.

"In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts," reads the unsigned order.

Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by GOP President George W. Bush, dissented along with the court’s three liberal justices. Each of the four dissenting justices wrote separate statements expressing their disagreement with the majority, the Associated Press also reports.

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