President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed a task force at the White House Tuesday, hearing from physicians who discussed the effects of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June.
Biden said he created the task force in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s “fairly extreme” decision. He called on Congress to “codify the protections of Roe.”
“Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are doubling down on the extreme position with the proposal for a national ban. Let me be clear what that means: it means that even if you live in a state where extremist Republican officials aren’t running the show, your right to choose will still be at risk,” he said.
Harris said the Dobbs decision created a “health care crisis in America” and criticized “extremist so-called leaders [for] attacking the freedom and liberty of millions of women at a state level.”
“What we’re seeing in laws around our country is the criminalization of doctors and health care providers,” Harris said. “[I]f there was a national law that was passed in the United States Congress to protect reproductive care, so-called leaders then could not ban abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest.”
Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said his department sent new guidance to universities reminding them of their obligation under Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funds.
“If you or someone you know encounters discrimination today, I want to be clear with college leaders in America,” he said. “Access to contraception should not be in question and access to health care – including reproductive health care – is critical to the well-being and success of our nation’s students. If you’re committed to student success, you must be committed to student health.”
The Department of Health and Human Services will also release $6 million in new funding to promote family planning services.
The task force also heard from physicians who discussed the effects of the Dobbs ruling on their practice, including one who said the Supreme Court decision “wreaked havoc across the country.”
The Task Force is part of Biden’s efforts to highlight his administration’s efforts to protect access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping that the issue will galvanize their voters ahead of the midterm elections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.