Dems Demand Biden Declare National Health Emergency Over Abortion

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Elected Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to declare a national health emergency for the purpose of promoting abortion access in states that are moving to outlaw the procedure.

Following the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, thirteen states have declared that trigger laws restricting abortion access are now valid. Several other states are likely to enforce laws passed before the 1973 ruling that restrict abortion, although abortion providers in Texas and West Virginia are suing to prevent laws in those states from returning to effect.

Congressional Democrats believe that declaring a national emergency would allow the Biden administration to direct financial resources to women seeking abortions in states where the procedure is limited. They believe that federal funds could be provided to women for travel and lodging should they need to cross state lines for an abortion, The Washington Post reported.

“This is an emergency and it demands emergency action. It’s why I am calling for the Biden administration to declare a national public health emergency,” Missouri Rep. Cori Bush said Monday.

“Declaring an emergency is an immediate step to help patients access the care they need,” Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, added.

Several other Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have called on the Biden administration to make abortions available on federal lands, including national parks. Such a move would likely violate the Hyde Amendment, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rejected the proposal as having “dangerous ramifications.” (RELATED: Here’s Why The Government Can’t Set Up Abortion Clinics On Federal Land)

At the same time, some elected Democrats and activists are complaining that the White House has not done enough to fight back against laws restricting abortions. Senate Democrats do not have enough votes to eliminate the filibuster to pack the Supreme Court or pass a federal law legalizing abortion nationally, even though Biden has endorsed both.

“The White House had a month, if not a year, to plan for this and they should have really come out with a major white paper plan of action the moment Dobbs was announced,” Georgetown University Medical School professor Lawrence Gostin told Reuters.

“The impression is that the White House is leading from behind, that they were caught flat footed.”