Biden Admin Considers Declaring Public Health Emergency on Abortion
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Republicans in Washington are maneuvering to block a potential plan by the Biden administration to increase abortion access on a national level.
Rep. August Pfluger of Texas is proposing an amendment to the National Emergencies Act to prevent it from being used to promote abortion or bypass restrictions. The bill also prevents the president and the Department of Health and Human Services from targeting states that restrict abortion.
It comes as the Biden administration is reportedly considering declaring a public health emergency on abortion in an effort to expand nationwide access to it, to help abortion-seekers bypass state laws.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v Wade, many states have enacted laws banning abortions after a certain point in the pregnancy.
President Biden has vowed to do everything he can to protect access to abortion nationwide and this declaration may go directly after states with pro-life laws on the books.
Axios confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is mulling different options to expand abortion access, including declaring a public health emergency on abortion.
"A public health emergency is supposed to be declared so you can save lives and in this case, they want to declare one to end life," Students for Life of America's Kristi Hamrick told CBN News.
A public health emergency declaration on abortion could potentially open up federal funding for women who need to travel out of state to get an abortion and it could make abortion medication more widely available.
"To think that you can crush state laws, suppress the voices of people so that you can end more life in the womb – it's an extraordinary overreach," Hamrick noted.
The Biden administration has said in the past this did not "seem like a great option," but Becerra confirmed to Axios that the HHS is doing "an evaluation" on abortion to see if they think an emergency declaration is needed.
"I find it just absolutely confounding to think that protecting life could be declared a National Health emergency," Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin told CBN News.
Youngkin told CBN News he's astounded this is being considered.
"There is a moment here for us as Americans to step back and recognize the extremism on display here," said Youngkin. "It's the same extremism that we saw on the floor of the General Assembly in Virginia when they were pressing to provide on-demand abortion all the way up through and including birth, paid for by taxpayer money. This is not representative of America."
Abortion is currently legal in Virginia until 26 weeks and six days into pregnancy or the end of the second trimester. Gov. Youngkin hopes to bring the threshold down to when a child can feel pain at fifteen weeks.
"Virginians have been very clear they want to see fewer abortions not more," Youngkin told CBN News. "Virginians have been very clear that that they support this legislation and unfortunately and very disappointingly, the Senate Democrats have failed to listen to Virginians and instead have tried to progress a constitutional amendment to make abortion on demand."
A 2022 Wall Street Journal poll found more Americans support a 15-week abortion ban than oppose it. Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) 15-week federal abortion ban, however, had no Democrat support in Washington and even a few Republicans were hesitant to get on board.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, approximately 6% of all reported abortions take place at or after 15 weeks with most of them being performed for the same reasons as earlier abortions, such as delays in recognizing the pregnancy or taking more time to decide to terminate it.
President Biden has made it clear in recent months he will only support unrestricted abortion access.
"Congress must restore the right that was taken away in Roe v Wade and protect Roe v Wade," Biden said in his State of the Union address Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Youngkin said the Democrats who control the Senate are unwilling to even engage in a discussion on the issue, but he's going to keep pressing to try and make progress.
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