In response to news reports that the Biden administration is looking into potentially declaring a “Public Health Emergency” to ensure abortion access nationwide since Roe v. Wade was overturned, pro-life advocates denounced the idea and stressed that Biden wants to “expand abortion on demand until birth nationwide.”
In a Jan. 31 press release, SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “Democrats’ pro-abortion extremism knows no bounds. They think allowing more Americans to be born is a crisis, and the only solution is ending those lives through abortion for any reason up until birth.”
“Their latest scheme would result in taxpayer-funded abortion on demand across the country with no protections whatsoever for unborn children or their mothers – including dangerous mail-order abortion drugs that put women at risk of serious complications,” said Dannenfelser.
“If Democrats were truly concerned about women facing difficult circumstances, they would support the pregnancy centers which serve them and outnumber Planned Parenthood 14 to one nationwide,” she added. “They would be in good company too, since 91% of Americans support this compassionate pro-life safety net.”
Back in June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the Dobbs decision, which returned abortion regulatory law to the states.
After that ruling, 83 congressional Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. They called on Biden and HHS to issue a “Public Health Emergency declaration on abortion access pursuant to your authority under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). We further call on you to use your authorities under the PREP Act to help ensure continued access to medication abortion across the country.”
Medication abortion refers to abortion pills, which the FDA recently said pharmacies could dispense. (They are also being sold online.) In the past, a woman seeking a medication abortion had to get them from her doctor, in-person, and consume the drug in his presence.
The letter further states, “The Supreme Court’s radical and dangerous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has precipitated a full-scale reproductive health crisis across our nation. It has also plunged our health system into a state of uncertainty and upheaval that threatens patients’ lives.”
“As we have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health emergency declaration can provide significant new authority and flexibility for a federal emergency response,” the Democrats wrote. “Relevant activities may include but are not limited to Public Health Services Corps team deployments, Medicaid State Plan Amendment flexibilities to support safe-haven states, and the ability to accelerate access to new medications authorized for abortion.”
In relation to the letter and current discussions in the administration, Axios reported on Jan. 31 that the Biden administration is considering the “Public Health Emergency” option, although the White House has previously stated that such an action did not “seem like a great option.”
On Jan. 30, Secretary Becerra told Axios, “There are discussions on a wide range of measures … that we can take to try to protect people’s rights. … There are certain criteria that you look for to be able to declare a public health emergency. That’s typically done by scientists and those that are professionals in those fields who will tell us whether we are in a state of emergency and based on that, I have the ability to make a declaration.”
The idea is still under “evaluation,” he said.
Law Prof. Mary Ziegler, University of California-Davis, told Axios that a “Public Health Emergency” declaration “would potentially make it easier for people who need to travel out-of-state to get abortions or to get abortion medication. It would make available funding that wouldn’t otherwise be there to address those unmet needs.”
A recent Knights of Columbus-Marist poll showed that 69% of Americans support limiting abortion to at least the first three months of pregnancy. For instance, 25% said “abortion should be allowed only during the first three months of pregnancy”; 26% said “abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother”; 10% said “abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother”; and 8% said “abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance.”
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