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[WATCH] President Biden Considering Health Emergency Declaration to Protect Abortion Rights

[WATCH] President Biden Considering Health Emergency Declaration to Protect Abortion Rights

President Joe Biden said on Sunday that he’s considering declaring a public health emergency to free up federal resources to promote abortion access even though the White House has said it doesn’t seem like “a great option.”

The President also offered a message to people enraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that ended a constitutional right to abortion and who have been demonstrating across the country, including a protest outside the White House: “Keep protesting. Keep making your point. It’s critically important.”

During a stop on a bike ride near his family’s Delaware beach house, the President–after goodnaturedly showing reporters he’d removed the toe clips from the pedals that had tripped him up on his last public ride—told reporters he’s looking at alternative options because lacks the power to force states with strict restrictions or outright bans on abortion to allow the procedure. “I don’t have the authority to say that we’re going to reinstate Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 ruling which established a national right to abortion. President Biden said Congress would have to codify that right and for that to have a better chance in the future, voters would have to elect more lawmakers who support abortion access.

The President said he has asked officials “to look at whether I have the authority to do that and what impact that would have” regarding declaring a national public health emergency.

Jen Klein, the director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said on Friday that such a declaration “didn’t seem like a great option,” telling reporters, “When we looked at the public health emergency, we learned a couple of things: One is that it doesn’t free very many resources,” she explained. “It’s what’s in the public health emergency fund, and there’s very little money — tens of thousands of dollars in it. So that didn’t seem like a great option. And it also doesn’t release a significant amount of legal authority. And so that’s why we haven’t taken that action yet.”

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