Politics

White House, Merrick Garland to meet with lawyers to defend abortion rights

A team of lawyers, including Attorney General Merrick Garland and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, will meet at the White House Friday afternoon and explore options to defend abortion rights, the White House announced.

As part of President Biden’s Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services, the group will hold its first meeting with pro bono attorneys that will give women legal advice and guidance when seeking abortion services.

The president signed the executive order after the Supreme Court overruled the national right to abortion last month in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The decision sent the issue of abortion back to the states and upended Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision. 

The order required Xavier Becerra, the secretary of Health and Human Services, to explore how the federal government could protect abortion rights and provide access to medication for abortion and contraception. It also ordered privacy rights and the safety of patients at clinics to be protected.

Conservative states have moved to severely limit abortion, while some are enacting near-total bans.

White House Counsel Stuart Delery and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will also be at Friday’s meeting.

They will discuss the implications involving criminalizing abortion services and the legality of family planning, travel for abortions, and denial of care.

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