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Biden signs order to protect reproductive healthcare, calls on voters to help legalize abortion

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President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Friday about an executive order that takes several steps toward protecting legalized abortion and contraception. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/76c119db5a38188034b48c5870d67e17/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Friday about an executive order that takes several steps toward protecting legalized abortion and contraception. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden announced a new executive order on Friday aimed at protecting access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, and called on voters to help this fall by electing lawmakers who will codify Roe vs. Wade into federal law.

Among other things, the order seeks to protect abortion drugs and emergency contraception. But Biden's order is limited in its power and the president cannot unilaterally supersede the Supreme Court's decision last month to strike down Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 high court precedent that legalized abortion nationwide.

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In his remarks Friday, Biden leveled heavy criticism against the Supreme Court and said its move to overturn Roe was "an exercise in raw political power."

"This was not a decision driven by the Constitution," he added. "This was not a decision driven by history.

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"Today's supreme court majority is playing fast and loose with the facts."

Biden's remarks were directed at the court's six conservative justices, all of whom voted to strike down legalized abortion.

"The practice of medicine should not be frozen in the 19th century," he said.

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Also included in Biden's order are provisions to safeguard patient privacy, expand access to contraception, increase public education efforts and establish an interagency task force that will include U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to coordinate policymaking and program development.

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Friday's order also directs the Health and Human Services Department to submit a report within 30 days informing Biden what actions it's taking to protect reproductive healthcare.

Biden's order comes amid rising pressure from fellow Democrats and millions of Americans to respond to the Supreme Court's decision and take action to protect legalized abortion. A number of states have moved to entirely ban the procedure outright since the ruling.

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Since the decision, congressional Republicans have also blocked an effort to codify legalized abortion in federal law and Democrats are under mounting pressure to act to protect women's right to choose.

In his remarks Friday, Biden called on voters to elect lawmakers this November who will work to codify legalized abortion into federal law.

"Your votes can make that a reality," he said. "You, the women of America, can determine the outcome of this issue."

"For God's sakes, there's an election in November. Vote, vote, vote," he added.

The White House said the Justice Department will also provide assistance to states and afford legal protections for out-of-state patients and providers who offer access to abortions.

Friday's order also seeks to protect mobile abortion clinics that have been deployed to help out-of-state patients access the type of reproductive healthcare that is now illegal in some states.

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