Biden made his comments virtual during the first meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access while dealing with a rebound case of Covid-19 and after testing positive again Wednesday morning.
Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Health Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough also attended the meeting.
The failed Kansas amendment comes as the Biden administration takes a step to protect pregnant people traveling to access reproductive care. Biden signed an executive order during Wednesday’s meeting that would explore ways to protect pregnant people who have to leave the state for an abortion if their state forbids it.
The order instructs Becerra to work with states to help people who must leave the state for reproductive health care. It also directs HHS to look into providing Medicare waivers for abortion procedures for pregnant people who have to leave the state for the procedure.
“What we know is that there is a need for clarity about the rights of individuals and states at this time,” Harris said. “We know there are concerns about the kind of support available in terms of federal resources for the various states that protect women’s rights, and what our government can do to support that.”
About Tuesday’s election, Harris said: “The people of Kansas spoke yesterday, and they spoke loud and clear. They said this is not a partisan issue. The women of America should not be the subject of partisan discussions or positions.”
“The people of Kansas have spoken, so this is a matter of defending the basic principles of liberty and liberty in America,” Harris added. “And they spoke loudly by saying that they trust women to make decisions about their own lives and their bodies.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also spoke about the vote in Kansas during her daily briefing.
“We’ve seen a lot of momentum in our fight to recover over the past 24 hours roe deer,she said. “Americans in Kansas showed up to challenge positions that would set the country backward, with fewer rights and politicians intruding on our most personal decisions, and they won.”
The state’s rejection of the amendment marked a somewhat shattered victory for abortion rights activists. Kansas is a state that has voted twice for Donald Trump, and the number of registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio.
“The president was very clear that to protect or codify our rights… roe, we need to make sure our voice is heard,” said Jean-Pierre. “That’s what you saw, you saw the power of the American people last night. That’s incredibly important. What we saw last night was not expected.”
The government and abortion rights activists also filed lawsuits Tuesday in Florida and Idaho, challenging restrictive anti-abortion laws in the respective states.
Faith-based groups in Florida are suing that the state’s 15-week abortion ban violates the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the separation of state and church.
The Justice Department is leading the legal battle in Idaho, arguing that state law violates federal law requiring doctors to provide medically necessary treatments to pregnant people, including abortion.
There are also a few wins for both sides of the argument in Michigan and Kentucky this week. On Monday, a Michigan judge blocked the state from enforcing a more than 90-year-old law on the books that would ban abortions. On the same day, just a few states south, a Kentucky court upheld an almost complete ban on abortions.
“Ultimately, Congress must protect roe as federal law,” Biden said Wednesday. “And if Congress fails to act, the people of this country must elect senators and representatives who will restore.” roe and will protect the right to privacy, liberty and equality.”