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Biden slams SCOTUS ruling on Texas abortion law, vows 'whole-of-government' response

President Joe Biden
Posted at 10:28 AM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 13:28:56-04

President Joe Biden on Thursday slammed a Supreme Court decision that allowed one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country to take effect in Texas.

Calling the law an "unprecedented assault on a woman's constitutional rights," Biden promised a "whole-of-government effort" to fight the ruling.

The law, which went into effect Wednesday, bans abortions conducted after a fetal heartbeat is detected — often before women are aware they're pregnant. The law does not make exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

The new law also allows individuals to sue those suspected of helping a woman obtain an illegal abortion, with an award of up to $10,000 — even if a person has no connection to the case.

"Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women," Biden wrote in his statement.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 — with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's three liberal judges in dissent — that the law could go into effect because it "presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which [plaintiffs] have not carried their burden."

The high court has halted previous fetal heartbeat laws passed in states like Alabama and Ohio before going into effect, giving time for appeals courts to weigh their legality.

In his statement Thursday, Biden criticized the five conservative judges for enacting the law.

"For the majority to do this without a hearing, without the benefit of an opinion from a court below, and without due consideration of the issues, insults the rule of law and the rights of all Americans to seek redress from our courts," the statement read. "Rather than use its supreme authority to ensure justice could be fairly sought, the highest Court of our land will allow millions of women in Texas in need of critical reproductive care to suffer while courts sift through procedural complexities."

Later in his statement, Biden instructed the Office of the White House Counsel to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to determine steps the Biden administration could take to "ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions..what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas' bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties."