📋 Scrambling To Restore (Executive) Order
If Roe v. Wade falls this month, can the Executive Branch do anything to help buttress 50 years of abortion rights in this nation? That's what the Biden Administration has been looking into since a SCOTUS draft ruling was leaked in May signaling an end to the landmark ruling. An executive order (or several) could keep mailed-home abortion pills legal, and prevent states from requiring in-person consultations (versus telehealth) to prescribe the pills. But will President Biden sign these or other orders?
According to the New York Times, “part of the dilemma, according to people familiar with the internal deliberations, is that Mr. Biden’s approach is likely to be seen as a litmus test by many centrist or liberal-leaning voters.”
The administration has assembled White House counsel, Dana Remus, the director of its gender policy council, Jennifer Klein, and the director of its domestic policy council, Susan Rice, to craft potential executive actions.
The Times adds that the White House is bracing for potential violence in the wake of Roe being overturned.
The SCOTUS's decision creates a mess on several fronts. As Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe said, Biden's actions could “pour cold water on people’s peaceful reactions to impending disaster” and divert attention away from the SCOTUS's ruling to debates over whether the president is overreaching his power. He added that “it would take attention from the things that are really relevant — that the Supreme Court is out of control and we ought to be very critical of it — and shift the criticism to the president for responding in kind and doing things that are every bit as ungrounded in the Constitution as the court’s overruling of Roe will be.”
It's ultimately Congress that will enshrine any federal laws to protect abortion rights in this country, but the reality of such a bill passing both chambers seems distant at best (if not outright impossible). In the face of this hurdle, any stop-gap executive orders from President Biden may save lives immediately.