Friday’s White House gathering of pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations featured Attorney General Merrick Garland as the event’s keynote speaker as they discussed the best ways to provide legal services and safeguards for women seeking abortions.
The initiative is a component of the executive order announced earlier this month by President Joe Biden to maintain access to abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to the operation.
The White House announced the event and stated that attorneys would try to “promote vigorous legal representation of persons seeking reproductive care services.” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta and White House Counsel Stuart Delivery were in attendance with Garland. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is also a lawyer, was due to arrive at the ceremony later, according to his public calendar.
Garland stated, “It has been 35 days since the Supreme Court struck down Roe and Casey, destroying a basic constitutional right that has been crucial to the freedom and equality of women in the United States for half a century. “I know we all feared what lay ahead on that day. And those worries have been verified by what occurred in the following days.
Travel for abortions, what to do when women are denied the surgery and criminalizing the process were among the topics the White House stated would be examined.
According to Biden, he is unable to guarantee nationwide access to abortion on his own. He has urged voters to send enough Democrats to Congress this fall so that they may vote to codify Roe v. Wade’s civil rights. However, his administration is under intense pressure from advocacy groups to exercise his executive authority, including announcing an abortion-related public health emergency.
“The decision has had an immediate, profound, and terrible impact on the lives of people across our nation,” Garland said. “Throughout the past month, states all over the country have moved to enact abortion bans and other access restrictions. in the most stringently regulated states. Abortion services are no longer offered by any clinics at all.
Delivery claimed that in light of the high court’s decision in the Mississippi abortion case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the session would provide the attorneys a chance to “think seriously” about how they may use “our particular tools to bear in pursuit of reproductive freedom.”
Before we can fight, he said, “we must listen — to those who have worked closely with women who have suffered and will suffer as a result of the Dobbs decision, to the medical professionals who provide reproductive care at great personal and professional lives, and to the lawyers who have already been on the front lines of this battle for decades.
Also on Friday, Biden declared he will appoint to a federal appeals court the abortion rights attorney who unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade.
Biden has chosen Julie Rikelman, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, to fill a position on the Boston-based 1st U.S. Appeals court for the circuit. The Kyiv, Ukraine, native Rikelman, a Harvard alum, left her own country in 1979 along with her family.
Eckelman warned the justices in her speech to the high court in December that “eliminating or restricting the right to abortion will push women backward. One in every four women now chooses to abort a pregnancy, and this choice has been relied upon for two generations.