Biden’s Health Secretary: ‘No Magic Bullet’ for Preserving Abortion Access

New York Times

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Charlie Savage
Xavier Becerra, the secretary of health and human services, said his agency was exploring options to preserve and expand access to abortion, following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

WASHINGTON — As Democrats and reproductive rights advocates clamored for President Biden to forcefully counter the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, his health secretary, Xavier Becerra, stepped up to a lectern here on Tuesday to list the steps his department would take to preserve and expand access to abortion.

The list, for now anyway, is short.

“There is no magic bullet,” Mr. Becerra said at a morning news conference, “but if there is something we can do, we will find it and we will do it.”

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday eliminating the constitutional right to abortion was not unexpected, yet neither the White House nor Mr. Becerra’s agency had immediate policy responses at the ready. Officials inside the administration say they are still wrestling with the prospect of a mainstream area of women’s health care suddenly becoming illegal in roughly half the country, and will need time to sort through their options.

Yet Mr. Biden is under intense political pressure to act, and after his news conference some advocates accused Mr. Becerra of sounding tepid. Some Democrats, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been pushing the Biden administration to explore the prospect of building abortion clinics on federal land and paying for people from out of state to travel there for the procedure.

Publish : 2022-06-29 09:49:00

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