Lawmakers, activists respond to Biden’s executive order on abortion rights

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 8:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday to protect reproductive rights.

In the executive order, the president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop ways to protect access to abortion medication and contraception within 30 days.

He also pressured the FTC to crack down on data brokers attempting to sell private information from period-tracking apps.

Rae Pickett, who stands on the front lines of abortion rights, said it isn’t enough.

“The executive order does nothing for Virginians because really the right to access relies in our hands on the state level at this point,” Pickett said.

Pickett is the director of communications for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.

“We are one state senate vote away from a ban on abortion in the Commonwealth. That is extremely alarming,” she said.

Biden is calling on Congress to take action, but he simply doesn’t have enough votes on Capitol Hill. Pro-life State Senator Amanda Chase agreed the order wouldn’t do much.

“Nothing really happened today of significance. This decision was made by the Supreme Court, and this decision is going to be given to the state legislature,” Chase said.

Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, issued a statement on the executive order:

“This action reeks of political panic in reaction to the enormous pressure the President is receiving from the extreme base of his party, but the Supreme Court made clear that protecting human life is to be decided by the people. We look forward to that conversation in the halls of every state Capitol.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia has been ramping up outreach efforts and rallies since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling.

“It is more important than ever that we all come together to support patients, not exacerbate the barriers and the fear and confusion that currently exists for them,” Pickett said.

This week, Richmond City Council passed a resolution to protect abortion rights within city limits.

“Virginians know that it’s going to take folks at every level of government - the federal government, the state government, city governments - to work together to resolve this crisis,” Pickett said.

President Biden echoed what many advocates in Richmond said two weeks ago - that restoring reproductive rights now depends on America’s vote.

On Friday evening, dozens of people gathered at Monroe Park, with most of the people there upset about the recent Supreme Court decision. VCU sent out several alerts as the group marched around town, and at one point, Capitol Square closed as a precaution.

The Virginia General Assembly is expected to take up pro-life bills this coming January.

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