1 of 5 | U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Tallahassee, Florida on Sunday. Photo by Tori Lynn Schneider/ UPI | License Photo
Jan. 22 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden issued a new memorandum to protect a woman's access to reproductive healthcare Sunday, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade.
The memorandum directs his administration to establish guidance for providers and patients who seek access to mifepristone, a medication used to terminate intrauterine pregnancy up to 10 weeks. Attorney General Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas are also directed to ensure patients are safe from violence when seeking reproductive care.
"Today should've been the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Instead, MAGA Republican officials are waging a war on women's right to make their own health care decisions," Biden tweeted.
"But this fight isn't over."
Meanwhile rallies took place across the nation Sunday, including in Tallahassee, Fla., where Vice President Kamala Harris announced the memorandum. Harris' speech was attended by local officials and state delegates in the capital of the state, which has outlawed abortions after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest or sex trafficking.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision last June, opening the door for states to institute restrictions on abortion access and reproductive healthcare.
"For nearly 50 years Americans relied on the rights that Roe protected," Harris said.
"Today however, on what would have been it s50th anniversary , we speak of the roe decision in past tense."
Harris said the decision to overturn Roe has implications that have affected everybody. She cited the case of a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who became pregnant after being raped. The girl traveled to Indiana for an abortion, sparking debate and court cases over restrictive state laws.
Next Harris spoke of an incident in Texas where a woman who was having a miscarriage was denied emergency medical care. After three days she became septic and was ultimately admitted to the hospital.
"All of these devastating experiences are the result of laws designed by extremists, including in states like Florida," Harris said.
"Here in Florida, healthcare providers face prison for up to five years for simply doing their job. And now the state has also targeted medication abortion and even threatened Florida pharmacists with criminal charges."
The vice president said the rights of every woman in every state to make their own healthcare decisions "are on the line."
"How dare they?" Harris said of Republicans in Congress pursuing a nationwide abortion ban.
"President Biden and I agree and we will never back down. Congress must pass a bill that protects this freedom and liberty. A bill that protects this right and President Biden will sign it. Let us not be tired or discouraged because we're on the right side of history."