Biden to host virtual meeting with governors to ‘protect women’s reproductive health’ after abortion ruling

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President Biden will meet virtually Friday with a group of governors whose states have “moved swiftly” to “protect women’s reproductive health” following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A White House official said the president is hosting an event Friday afternoon to meet with governors “from across the country in a virtual meeting,” just a week after the high court announced its decision to return the issue of abortion back to the states after nearly 50 years. 

“President Biden will join from the White House and talk with governors whose states have moved swiftly post-Dobbs decision to protect women’s reproductive health,” the White House official said.

President Biden delivers the commencement address during the graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy Memorial Stadium May 27, 2022, in Annapolis, Md.

President Biden delivers the commencement address during the graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy Memorial Stadium May 27, 2022, in Annapolis, Md. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee are expected to take part in the president’s event.

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Lamont signed a first-in-the-nation law that protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may be traveling from other states that have outlawed abortion. Additionally, that law expands abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont delivers the State of the State address during opening session at the State Capitol Feb. 9, 2022, in Hartford, Conn.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont delivers the State of the State address during opening session at the State Capitol Feb. 9, 2022, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Earlier this month, Hochul signed a package to further preserve, protect and strengthen abortion rights for patients and providers in New York, a state where Medicaid covers the cost of an abortion.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul debates in the race for governor at the studios of WNBC4-TV June 16, 2022, in New York City.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul debates in the race for governor at the studios of WNBC4-TV June 16, 2022, in New York City. (Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)

In New Mexico, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order to protect medical providers from attempts at legal retribution. The order protects health care providers from “discipline due to an out-of-state resident receiving abortion services in the state” and makes clear it will “not cooperate with extradition attempts from other states where criminal charges are being pursued against the individual for receiving or performing reproductive services.”

Minnesota and Massachusetts also recently took similar executive action.

And in Illinois, Pritzker is set to call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on legislation to strengthen women’s access to abortion.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

California, Oregon and Washington issued a multi-state commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and commitments to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to enforce their abortion bans in the three western states.

Meanwhile, an official said the White House “waited until the end of the foreign trip to announce this event, but it is happening the president’s first day back, without him skipping a beat.”

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The president, during a press conference from Spain on the sidelines of the NATO summit Thursday, teased the meeting, telling reporters he is “meeting with a group of governors when I get home on Friday.”

Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacting to the Dobbs ruling.

Crowds outside the Supreme Court reacting to the Dobbs ruling. (Joshua Comins/Fox News)

“The first and foremost thing we should do is make it clear how outrageous this decision was and how much it impacts not just a woman’s right to choose, which is a critical, critical piece, but on privacy generally,” Biden said. “And so I’m going to be talking to the governors as to what actions they think I should be taking as well.” 

The president again stressed that the U.S. should “codify Roe v. Wade into law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that.

“And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we should require an exception to the filibuster for this action,” he added.

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Biden had previously called on Congress to codify Roe following the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling, but he had not called for ending the filibuster. Biden has only previously called for the measure during his effort to pass voting reforms, which did not succeed.

The filibuster is a threshold of 60 votes in the Senate that’s necessary before a piece of legislation is given an up or down vote.

If Democrats wanted to establish a new filibuster precedent, they could do so with 51 votes — all 50 senators in the Democratic caucus, plus Vice President Harris breaking the tie.

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