Here’s what President Biden’s executive order on abortion means

Biden signed the order on Friday

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday in an attempt to protect a woman’s access to abortion across the U.S. following the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of Roe V. Wade.

ORLANDO, Fla. – President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday in an attempt to protect a woman’s access to abortion across the U.S. following the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of Roe V. Wade.

This comes after the highest court in the land voted 5-3 to end nearly 50 years of abortion protection in a historic ruling two weeks ago, overturning the 1973 case first allowing for that constitutional right within the 14th Amendment.

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The ruling cascaded the decision on the legality of abortion down to the state level. While Biden’s response to the Supreme Court majority cannot restore access to abortion in the more than dozen states where bans have already gone into effect, his order intends to stop some penalties women seeking abortions may face.

The president also urged Americans who are upset with the high court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade to vote in November.

“The only way to fulfill and restore that right for women in this country is by voting, by exercising the power at the ballot box,” Biden said.

The executive order directs the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to protect access to abortion medication and protect women’s rights to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services.

It also asks the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those seeking information about reproductive cases online.

The big question is does the president’s executive order impact Florida’s new abortion law? The state’s 15-week ban on abortions is still in effect after the state filed an appeal earlier this week challenging a temporary injunction.

Caroline Mala Corbin is a professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law. She said the president’s executive order also reinforces a federal law that said hospitals must provide abortions when medically necessary, even if it violates state law.

“This is a federal law that already exists, but I don’t think it’s been enforced to its full potential,” she said. “One of the things this executive order might do might be to really implement this law and therefore ensure that women who need abortions for medical reasons get them, even in states that don’t want to allow them.”

News 6 reached out to out to multiple organizations and lawmakers on both sides of the abortion issue following Biden’s executive order and received the below statements.

Senator Marco Rubio’s office sent a statement from last month when he introduced a bill to block the president from declaring federal emergencies on abortions.

“We should be protecting the lives of innocent babies, not Planned Parenthood’s ability to kill them. I will do everything I can to protect life and block this gross abuse of power,” Rubio said in a statement.

Senator Rick Scott also shared a statement from last month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.

“We cannot stop fighting until every life, born and unborn, is valued,” Scott said in a statement.

ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights responded to Biden’s executive order with the following statements:

“Abortion services have already ceased in nine states, and that number is expected to grow dramatically. This public health crisis will become more dire by the day. We are glad that President Biden is taking action and has directed the Health and Human Services Department to do everything in its power to expand access to medication abortion. This should include HHS immediately declaring a public health emergency and using the emergency powers of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to protect access to abortion for as many people as possible.”

Nancy Northup, President and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights

“Every day, pregnant people in this nation are facing the cruel reality of being forced to carry a pregnancy against their will and suffer the life-altering consequences. After decades of relentless attacks on abortion access by politicians, we must use every tool to address this nationwide crisis. Today’s announcement is an important step, and we urge the Biden administration to take swift, meaningful action to build on it. We won’t stop fighting until every person can get the care they need regardless of where they live.”

Georgeanne Usova, Senior Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union

News 6 has not received any other responses aside from statements that we previously published.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About the Authors:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.