House Republicans this week proposed legislation that would prohibit President Joe Biden from declaring a public health emergency as a way to boost access to abortion, a step the Biden administration has been openly mulling after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year.
The bill from Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, would amend the National Emergencies Act to prohibit Biden or any president from declaring a national emergency in order to promote abortion or expand access to abortion services. It also bars the president from going after states that restrict abortion and includes similar restrictions on the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Pfluger introduced the bill as the Biden administration continues to send signals that it is considering an emergency declaration to deal with what some pro-abortion groups have called a health crisis in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
The administration has taken some steps to help people move from states with restrictive abortion policies to states with more liberal policies, and the Department of Defense has said it would look to give service members flexibility to take time off and seek abortions across state lines.
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In January, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said there are “discussions” about how a public health emergency might help people access abortion, but Pfluger said this would be a misuse of the federal government.
“President Biden wants to declare a whole-of-government war against pro-life states,” he said. “His radical, anti-life administration is threatening to declare a public health emergency to accelerate taxpayer-funded research for life-ending abortion drugs and expand abortion drug access nationwide.”
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“It is completely unsettling that a measure meant to protect the health and safety of Americans could be used to kill unborn children and endanger the safety and well-being of their mothers,” he said of the idea of a public health emergency.
An aide to Pfluger said it’s “obvious” that the Biden administration is intent on expanding access to abortions and is considering an emergency declaration. The aide said this move would mean that “taxpayer dollars from every American, even those of us who disagree with ending the lives of the unborn, will be used on research and development for abortion drugs, sending these to pro-life states, or providing funding for those seeking abortions.”
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The bill is new and therefore hasn’t been scheduled for floor consideration, but the aide noted that House GOP leadership is likely to look on it favorably because House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has already called up legislation related to abortion.
Last month, House Republicans passed bills requiring health care providers to save infants born alive after a failed abortion attempt and condemning attacks on organizations that oppose abortion.
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