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Biden Defends Abortion Rights as Texas Limits Become Law

With the Supreme Court watching from the sidelines, Democrats renew talk of adding members
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2021 6:45 PM CDT
Biden Defends Abortion Rights as Texas Limits Become Law
President Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – On the day that new restrictions became law in Texas, President Biden promised to "protect and defend" a woman's right to an abortion. "This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century," the president said in a statement Wednesday. He said his administration "will protect and defend" the right established by the Supreme Court with Roe v Wade but didn't say what steps that might include, Politico reports. Despite Roe v. Wade, Texas has effectively outlawed nearly all abortions within its boundaries.

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The legislation will "significantly impair women's access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes," Biden said, per NBC. Some Democrats and advocates who have been pushing the administration to do more to protect access to abortion were pleased by Biden's statement. "It's the first time that the word 'abortion' has been issued by the by the president's office," Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney said. They encouraged the president to do more. Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the president would ask Congress to codify Roe v. Wade, per Axios.

Some Democratic members of Congress conceded that legislation safeguarding access to abortion would have a tough time clearing the Senate, which is half Republicans. The Supreme Court did nothing to stop the Texas law, which got Democrats talking again about expanding the court. A new abortion decision by the high court is needed, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, but there's no sign of that. "The extent to which the courts do not stand up to this probably means the rethinking of the Supreme Court as we know it today," she said. Biden has a commission considering that; its report is due by the end of the year. (Read more abortion rights stories.)

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