Biden White House slams Texas heartbeat bill as ‘assault on fundamental rights’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki conducts her first news conference of the Biden administration in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on January 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Psaki previously worked in the Obama administration as White House Communications Director and spokesperson for the State Department. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden White House is slamming Texas’ recently-passed “heartbeat bill” as an “assault on women’s fundamental rights.”

At the White House press briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the bill signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday. 

The legislation, slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks of gestation.

“This is the most restrictive measure yet in the nation and the most restrictive recent assault on women's fundamental rights under Roe v. Wade,” Psaki replied.  She lamented that “critical rights continue to come under withering and extreme attack around the country.”

According to Psaki, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are “devoted to ensuring that every American has access to healthcare.”

“Now more than ever, he continues to support the robust agenda he put forward during the campaign to protect women’s fundamental rights, including by codifying Roe v. Wade,” she said. “Obviously, there are some actions that will be through legal processes and through the courts.”

“Those are decisions for the Department of Justice and others to make,” she added, “but certainly the President supports and believes we should codify Roe v. Wade.  And that is his view, regardless of these backward-looking steps that are being taken ... by states in the country.

As Psaki suggested, 2021 has seen the passage of many pro-life laws at the state level.

A report from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, released on Apr. 30, found that in the first four months of 2021, more than 500 pro-life bills were introduced in state legislatures nationwide. More than 60 of those bills have become law in 14 states. 

The abortion advocacy group warned that “2021 is on track to become the most devastating antiabortion state legislative session in decades.”

Pro-life measures enacted in the first four months of 2021 include a ban on abortions based on genetic abnormalities, including Down Syndrome, in Arizona and South Dakota. They also include heartbeat bills in Oklahoma and South Carolina

The pro-life legislation at the state level comes as the Biden administration has worked to undo pro-life policies at the federal level. Such actions include reversing the “Mexico City Policy” banning the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas and enacting a ban on fetal tissue research.  

Since the Guttmacher Institute published its report, additional pro-life measures have been enacted at the state level, including the Texas heartbeat bill, a Tennessee law requiring the burial or cremation of aborted babies’ remains and an Idaho law defunding Planned Parenthood. 

However, a North Dakota bill that would have penalized colleges for awarding government grant money to abortion providers was partially vetoed by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Throughout 2021, the pro-life movement has gained momentum at the local level. 

Most notably, the city of Lubbock, Texas, home to more than 200,000 people, became the largest city in the U.S. to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn” by outlawing abortion within the city limits except in cases when a woman's life is at risk.

Psaki’s insistence that Biden wants to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law comes just days after the Supreme Court agreed to review a lower court decision finding that a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks gestation was unconstitutional. 

Pro-life activists are optimistic that the Supreme Court will reverse the lower court decision, thereby chipping away at the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The fact that the Supreme Court currently consists of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents is another source of pro-lifers’ confidence that a majority of the justices will rule in their favor. Democrats and pro-choice activists, meanwhile, are concerned about the makeup of the court.

Last month, congressional Democrats introduced a bill designed to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court, a proposal that critics refer to as “court packing.” 

Democrats argue that additional justices are needed to blunt the effect of the nominally conservative majority, which they believe is “illegitimate.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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