President Joe Biden condemned a ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ Heartbeat Act on Thursday, saying the court’s decision “insults the rule of law.”
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 late Wednesday night to deny abortion providers’ requests for injunctive relief against Texas’ new law banning abortion after six weeks. The president weighed in on the ruling Thursday morning, calling it an “unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.”
“By allowing a law to go into effect that empowers private citizens in Texas to sue health care providers, family members supporting a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts,” Biden said in a statement.
He continued: “Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women. This law is so extreme, it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman—it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”
The president was referring to the the fact that the Heartbeat Act allows “any person” to sue doctors, abortion clinics, or anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”
Those who sue over an abortion may be awarded $10,000 “for each abortion” the defendant performed, induced, aided, or abetted in violation of the law—monetary amounts that some pro-abortion advocates are calling “bounties.”
“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,” Biden said, praising dissents by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
“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,” he said.
Wednesday night’s ruling requires an “immediate response,” Biden said.
“One reason I became the first president in history to create a Gender Policy Council was to be prepared to react to such assaults on women’s rights,” he said, adding:
Hence, I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the federal government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.
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