Biden considering executive order on abortion rights if Roe v Wade overturned

The US president discussed a wide range of topics for his first in-person interview with a late-night host since taking office

Johanna Chisholm
Thursday 09 June 2022 14:33 BST
Joe Biden talks gun control with Jimmy Kimmel

Joe Biden has revealed that his administration is assessing options for signing an executive order on abortion rights in the face of a potential reversal of Roe v Wade.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live for his first in-person interview with a late-night host since taking office on Wednesday, the president discussed a wide range of issues, including gun control laws, inflation and abortion rights, a topic that the late-night host said he was disappointed with the progress being made.

“We’ve moved backwards,” Mr Kimmel said.

For his part, Mr Biden conceded that his administration is weighing their options and is looking at the possibility of issuing executive orders to protect reproductive rights enshrined in the 1973 legislation.

“There’s some executive orders I could employ, we believe. We’re looking at that right now,” the president said, prompting a round of applause from the audience.

Mr Biden didn’t provide specific details about what executive orders his administration could issue to protect abortion rights should the landmark legilsation be reversed.

He did, however, concede while discussing gun control with the late-night host that he was cautious about issuing too many of these kind of presidential orders, for fear that he could be “emulating” his predecessor.

“I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority,” he said, noting that former President Donald Trump “passed them out like Halloween candy.”

The US Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in a Mississippi case challenging a state law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, presenting a major challenge to the landmark precedent established in the 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade, which enshrined consititutional protections for the procedure.

Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization marks the first major abortion rights challenge in front of the new conservative majority on the court with its three newest justices, all conservatives appointed by former president Donald Trump. The court heard oral arguments in the case on 1 December 2022. A leak of a draft opinion in the case suggests that justices are prepared to overturn Roe.

The president acknowledged that, if the court overturns Roe, “it’s going to cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote a lot of these folks out of office.”

“If they overrule Roe v Wade, and the state of California won’t do it, but other states say, ‘You cannot do the following, and it’s a law you can’t cross the border’ — all the things that some states have — then you got to make sure you vote,” Mr Biden said during his late-night appearance. “You got to vote and let people know what the devil you think.”

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