And President Biden can’t do much on his own. Of codifying abortion rights into federal law, he said: “No executive action from the president can do that.”
But is there anything he can do around the edges? This month, the White House met with abortion rights and reproductive rights groups to brainstorm possible actions the executive branch can take.
Some possibilities that abortion rights supporters are floating include:
Make abortion medication easier to access: The federal government has already made it easier for women to get abortion pills by mail or prescribed by telemedicine. And the government doesn’t require that women take them only in clinical settings. But only certain providers can prescribe mifepristone, one of two necessary pills for a medical abortion. The federal government could change the guidelines to allow any medical provider to write a prescription for this medication and could expand the pharmacies where it can be picked up, said Elizabeth Nash, an abortion law expert with the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization that supports abortion rights.
Mailed abortion pills became more popular even before the fall of Roe. As The Post’s Caroline Kitchener reports, an Austria-based group that mails abortion pills to all 50 U.S. states said orders from Texas increased by 1,000 percent when that state enacted its six-week ban in the fall. (Overseas pharmacies aren’t beholden to U.S. law.)
The Post reports that some abortion rights advocates are pushing the government to make abortion pills available over the counter but that such a move is unlikely because in some cases, the pills can cause heavy bleeding that requires medical assistance.
Also, some states are considering banning these pills outright. And the Supreme Court could limit the federal government’s ability to override those state bans, said Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan who supports abortion rights and host of the Supreme Court podcast “Strict Scrutiny.”
Help with travel to get an abortion: America will be starkly divided between red states that restrict or outlaw abortion and blue states that move to codify abortion protections. The Biden administration could provide grants to those needing an abortion so they can travel to a state where the procedure is…