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Where Biden and Democrats Stand After 3 Weeks in Deadlocked Battle Over Abortion Access

Still, many progressives and abortion providers expressed concern that the measures would not do enough to reduce the impact of state restrictions.

“Perhaps the reality is that there is nothing that can be done federally.” If so, that should scare everybody,” said Robin Marty, director of operations for the West Alabama Women’s Center. last week.

The overall effect? A stalemate among Democrats at the highest levels of government, especially on moving beyond relatively additional protections.

Here’s more of what the deadlocked fight for abortion access has looked like over the past seven days.

Congress

Democrats are trying (and likely failing) to pass pro-abortion bills

Democrats on Capitol Hill this week Responds to tremendous pressure Act quickly on abortion rights legislation. In recent weeks, they have faced pressure — from voters to the White House — to challenge the Supreme Court decision, prompting Democrats to draft legislation on the issue.

But their efforts are likely to be futile, and they know it.

The votes are essentially doomed as they face an evenly divided Senate, where the 60-vote threshold for legislation is unlikely to break widespread Republican opposition to abortion. There are bills on the table this week that would protect the right to travel for abortion services and another that would explicitly give health care providers and patients the right to perform or obtain an abortion.

So what’s the point? The move signals to the Democratic base that they are willing to stand up for their values ​​while casting Republicans as the popular opinion on abortion rights.

Majority Leader in letter Stan Hoyer told colleagues that the leadership was considering more legislative steps. House Democrats also plan to introduce more abortion rights legislation soon, including measures that would protect the privacy of patients’ health records, which some fear could be used by law enforcement to track pregnancies and enforce restrictions.

Scotus

Biden is facing criticism ahead of potential legal battles

After Roe Overturned, progressives pressed the president for executive branch powers to protect abortion. But Biden’s legal team has come to grips with a harsh reality: Any comprehensive action that defies the Supreme Court’s ruling is likely to be struck down by the court.

Administration officials and legal experts said the White House had tried almost every option or considered the risk of a legal challenge. Officials are still trying to find a path of least resistance to protect abortion rights, three weeks after the federal rollout. Meanwhile, Biden himself downplayed his ability to pass protections, urging Congress to pass legislation and voters to choose Democrats in November’s midterm elections.

“I know it’s disappointing and it’s made a lot of people very angry,” Biden said in a speech on Friday. “But the truth is, I’m not the only one saying that… When you read the decision, the court made it clear that it will not protect women’s rights.”

Although Biden’s hands are tied, critics continue to accuse the administration of not preparing for this moment. They argue that steps could have been taken months earlier to review the legality of abortion protections. After all, opportunity Roe The repeal has been debated for years, including during each of the confirmation hearings for the three judges appointed by President Donald Trump.

[Read more: Biden’s abortion response curbed by fears of another Supreme Court showdown]

elections

The finger-pointing continues among Democrats

Echoing Biden’s calls in recent weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris directly called on Congress to act on abortion access protections, highlighting the finger-pointing among Democratic lawmakers over who is responsible for — and can — provide protections after the Supreme Court decision.

“So what does that mean?” Harris said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “That means we’re looking at elections in 120 days, they’re going to be about who serves in Congress, and we need a pro-choice Congress.”

He emphasized the need for voters to consider candidates who support abortion rights, rather than just more well-known lawmakers. The court’s decision last month allows states to decide whether to retain abortion protections or enact outright bans, which several have already enshrined in state law.

“You don’t have to advocate or believe it’s right for you or your family, but don’t let the government make the decision for his family, whoever it is,” Harris said. “It means state agencies, governors, state secretaries, general prosecutors. This means local races, who will be your DA, who will be your sheriff, enforcing laws passed to criminalize medical health care providers, and maybe even women seeking services. “

Along with criticism of the Biden administration for not being aggressive enough in protecting access to abortions, Democrats in Congress have faced criticism in recent weeks for not codifying it. Roe in federal law when they controlled the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate under President Barack Obama.

lawyers

Supporters of the court extension see faith justified after six months

Some members of the bipartisan commission that studied the structure and composition of the Supreme Court six months ago told POLITICO that they now want the Biden administration to consider more aggressive reforms, including expanding the court.

The commission’s actual recommendations were moderate and did not include additional court seats. But some members who supported the expansion said recent court decisions vindicated their belief.

“This is absurd. Of course we have to do something,” said former US District Judge Nancy Gertner, who served on the Biden commission. “When you read the draft… and then you watched the court do whatever it wanted. I have changed.”

Biden’s allies pushed back, arguing that it’s not worth spending political influence on something without a clear majority. Community support Or congressional Democrats.

“[A]The impeachment — which even its strongest proponents can’t stop at the level of support in Congress — will distract from the only way necessary to restore Roe, which is congressional action when we have enough votes,” a Biden ally told POLITICO. “It’s focused on delivering real-life results.”

[Read more: Biden’s court commission appointees: We told you so on expanding the court]

defense

Progressives push to add abortion access for soldiers to mandatory defense bill

Finally, some Democrats in Congress are trying to amend the annual defense legislation to protect access to abortion for service members. A proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would ease restrictions on abortions at military medical facilities and on Pentagon funding for abortions.

Rep. Veronica EscobarThe Democrat from Texas said her office has been “inundated with calls from servicewomen” from out-of-state states who have ended up in Texas – where abortions are illegal.

“It’s a matter of readiness. As some of our colleagues on the Republican side refuse to understand, it’s a matter of readiness,” Escobar said.

The amendment was introduced by the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jackie Spear (D-Calif.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.) – There is no guarantee of vote.

[Read more: Progressives eye longshot bid to protect abortion rights for troops]

Where Biden and Democrats Stand After 3 Weeks in Deadlocked Battle Over Abortion Access

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