Biden calls Texas abortion ban ‘almost un-American’
President Biden on Friday said that the abortion law in Texas is “almost un-American” and that his Justice Department is looking into ways to protect abortion access after the Supreme Court refused to block the new law.
“It just seems, I know this sounds ridiculous, almost un-American what we’re talking about. Not to debate about, I respect people who think, who don’t support Roe v. Wade. I respect their views. I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all. I respect that, don’t agree, but I respect that. Not going to impose that on people,” Biden told reporters.
He said he’s a “strong supporter of Roe v. Wade” and that the most “pernicious thing” about the Texas law is that it allows most citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers if they think the provider infringed on the policy.
“It sort of creates a vigilante system, where people get rewards to go out, anyway,” Biden said, trailing off.
Biden earlier this week signaled his administration would take unilateral action where possible.
“But what I was told and I must tell you, I am not certain, I was told there are possibilities within the existing law to have the Justice Department look and see whether there are things that can be done that can limit the independent action of individuals in enforcing … a state law. I don’t know enough to give you an answer yet. I’ve asked that to be checked,” Biden said on Friday.
Biden said on Thursday he would ask the Gender Policy Council and White House counsel to “launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision” and include the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice
The law, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed in May and took effect on Wednesday, bans abortions after the presence of a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy, and only makes exceptions for medical emergencies.
The president also said he would talk more about the issue while in Louisiana on Friday, during his trip to assess the damage of Hurricane Ida.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday responded to a male reporter who pressed her on Biden’s support for abortion access when the Catholic Church opposes abortion.
“I know you’ve never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant,” she said, “but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes their rights should be respected.”