President Joe Biden predicted Friday that some U.S. states will attempt to arrest women for crossing state lines to get abortions after the Supreme Court overturns the constitutional right to nationwide procedures.
Thirteen Republican-led states banned or restricted proceedings under so-called “trigger laws” after the court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling last week. Women in those states who want an abortion may have to travel to states where it remains legal.
Biden called a virtual meeting on abortion rights Friday with the state’s Democratic governors and said he thinks “people will be shocked when the first state … tries to arrest a woman for crossing a state line to get health services.”
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He added: “And I don’t think people believe that’s going to happen. But it’s going to happen, and it’s going to telegraph to the whole country that this is a gigantic deal that goes beyond; I mean, it affects all your basic rights.”
Biden said the federal government will act to protect women who have to cross state lines to have an abortion and to ensure their access to medicines in states where it is banned.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said at the meeting that her state “will not cooperate” in efforts to track down women who have had abortions in order to punish them. “We will not extradite,” she said.
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Abortion rights groups have introduced legislation in multiple states to preserve women’s ability to terminate pregnancies.
Judges in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Utah have since passed decisions that prevent these states from enforcing new restrictive abortion laws, while Ohio’s highest court on Friday declined to prohibit the Republican-led state from imposing an abortion ban.
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul told the group that “only a handful of states” will have to take care of women’s health across the country.
“There’s so much stress out there,” Hochul said. “It’s a matter of life and death for American women,” she added.
Biden also told the group that there weren’t enough votes in the Senate to scrap a supermajority rule known as the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade’s protections into law.
He had suggested that senators remove the filibuster, but the suggestion was shot down by aides to key Democratic lawmakers.
“(The) filibuster should not stand in our way of (codifying) Roe,” Biden said.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey Editing by Alistair Bell)