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Criticized as passive on abortion rights, Biden fights back – US Politics News – Report by AFR

US President Joe Biden, who is under pressure to toughen his defense of access to abortion, will sign an executive order on Friday introducing new but limited measures to strengthen women’s reproductive rights.

Biden has been criticized by his own Democratic Party for perceived inaction since the landmark Supreme Court ruling that overturned the nationwide abortion right that had been in effect since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Following the court ruling late last month, several states have banned or severely restricted abortion, and others are expected to follow suit.

Many Democrats have complained, often anonymously in the press, that Biden and his team did not adequately respond to the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling, which is now firmly in the hands of conservative judges.

On the day of the verdict on June 24, the administration appeared surprised, although a draft had been leaked weeks earlier.

Biden’s first statement on the ruling came late in the day, after even some foreign heads of state issued official reactions. Finally, he gave a short speech in which he described the verdict as a “tragic error”.

The President also announced two packages of regulatory measures: on access to abortion pills and on the right of women to travel to another state for an abortion if their own state bans the procedure.

But in a rare move, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre canceled her daily briefing that day.

Biden went on a trip to Europe shortly thereafter, frustrating abortion rights activists and lawmakers waiting for more decisive action from the president, or at least some assertive words.

To bounce back, Biden will sign an executive order and deliver a speech promising to protect women’s sensitive health information and “fight digital surveillance related to reproductive health services,” the White House said.

Advocacy groups are warning of the risks posed by women’s online data, such as their geolocation and apps that monitor their menstrual cycles, which they say could be used to track women after abortions.

Biden’s order also aims to protect mobile clinics stationed at the borders of states that have banned abortion.

The government also wants to guarantee access to contraceptives and abortion drugs and build a network of volunteer advocates to help women on abortion issues, the White House said.

– ‘A man from the time?’ –

However, these measures will only have a limited effect. Biden can’t do much about the Supreme Court or states hostile to him if he lacks a solid majority in Congress.

That’s why Biden is urging Americans to come out in droves in November’s midterm elections and vote for the Democrats.

The aim is to enshrine the right to abortion as a federal law, which would nullify state bans.

But many Democrats fear this campaign will fail. Biden is now an unpopular president, and the number one concern for Americans these days is sky-high inflation.

And beyond the abortion issue, some Democrats are wondering if Biden, 79, a centrist who shuns headline-grabbing action, has the capacity to take on an aggressively conservative American right in an era of acute political tension.

He only has to look at the press articles of the last few days, including those in news outlets that are considered sympathetic.

“Is Joe Biden the Wrong President at the Wrong Time?” read a headline in The Washington Post on Thursday, while The Atlantic magazine asked, “Is Biden a Man of the Period?”

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