The Biden administration is promising to fight Republican efforts in the House of Representatives to pass a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks following the Supreme Court’s historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, calling it an attempt to strip away women’s rights.
After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling and upheld the Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks, some House Republicans who oppose abortion rights are pushing legislation to implement a similar abortion ban nationwide. Such legislation does not currently have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, but the push for such a ban is a notable effort given that Republicans have a strong chance to take back control of the House in this year’s midterms. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressed support for the idea on Friday, and former Vice President Mike Pence commended the court in a statement and also lent his support to enacting a 15-week ban across the country.
Framing that push as a GOP effort to take away women’s rights, White House Gender Policy Council director Jen Klein lambasted such efforts Monday.
“Already Vice President Pence and GOP Leader McCarthy have announced their support for a nationwide ban on abortion, passed by Congress. No woman in any state – no matter how pro-choice that state – would have the right to choose. Abortion would be illegal everywhere. The ultra-MAGA agenda on choice has never been about ‘states rights.’ This has always been about taking away women’s rights, in every single state,” Klein said in a statement provided exclusively to CNN.
As President Joe Biden and other top officials have called on Americans to make their voices heard at the ballot box in November, Klein framed the choice in stark terms, offering a preview of White House messaging on the matter.
“So let’s be clear, this goes one of two ways: We either have a House and Senate that puts Roe into federal law, or a House and Senate that push ultra-MAGA policies that strip women of their rights in all 50 states. Congress will either protect women everywhere, or strip away their rights everywhere,” she said.
Klein has been among the White House officials leading the administration’s response to the Supreme Court ruling, forming an interagency working group and shaping outreach to key stakeholder groups. While Biden is traveling abroad to key summits this week, Klein will be among top administration officials’ efforts to speak publicly in the aftermath of the ruling this week.
“This week, administration officials, including Jen Klein, will be talking directly to the American people on broadcast, at events, and on social media, and high-level staffers, again including Jen, will be meeting with women’s groups, LBGTQIA and disability groups, advocates, legislators including House and Senate leadership and state legislators, influencers, faith leaders, and other stakeholders,” a White House official said.
The sharpened language comes as Biden has begun drawing sharper contrasts in his midterm messaging, going after what he calls the “ultra-MAGA agenda” of the right compared to his policies. The President has outlined steps his administration is taking at the federal level as the White House continues to field pressure from Democrats to do more.
“This decision must not be the final word,” Biden said in remarks from the foyer of the White House on Friday. “My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers. Congress must act. And your vote? You can have the final word. This is not over.”
The steps he laid out in his remarks – expanding access to medication abortion and ensuring women are able to cross state lines to obtain abortions – had been a primary focus of his team after dozens of conversations with abortion rights advocates and experts over the past two months.