Washington: Activists tell Biden ‘do more’ to defend US abortion rights


Up to a thousand abortion rights protesters waved banners and chanted on Saturday  (9 July) outside the White House, demanding US President Joe Biden to take stronger action to protect access to the procedure recently revoked by the Supreme Court.

The White House demonstrators called on the president, who is spending the weekend at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware a few hours away, to do more to combat the 24 June Supreme Court ruling overturning the Roe versus Wade decision of 1973, which enshrined the right to abortion in the United States.

The crowd of mainly women shouted slogans like “My body, my choice” and some sat down on the sidewalk in pouring rain, with police standing by.

“Stand up, Joe Biden,” said Becca, 37, who travelled more than two hours to Washington from Virginia. She carried a banner reading, “Abortion on demand without apology.”

She said an executive order Mr. Biden signed on Friday aiming to help women access abortion pills and travel to states where they can still get an abortion was insufficient.

“Fix this! This executive order that he put out wasn’t enough,” said Becca, who declined to give her last name.

“I want a world that wasn’t the world that my grandmother had to live in. My mom already fought for this in the streets. We shouldn’t have to be here,” she added.

Another woman, Christine, came to the rally with her three daughters, one in her 20s and the other two in their teens.

“We really feel that he needs to explore the fullest extent of his power of the executive branch to ensure that women retain their rights, their reproductive rights,” Christine, 50, said.

“And I am here to ensure that my daughters don’t have to go back 50 years in time to the days where abortions were happening in back alleys,” added Christine, who also declined to give her last name.

Mr. Biden, whose room for manoeuvre on the issue is limited, has come under fire for perceived inaction since the court ruling.

As he signed the executive order on Friday, he called on Americans to vote en masse and elect pro-choice lawmakers in November and give him firm control of Congress, so he can codify abortion rights into federal law and bypass the Supreme Court ruling. (Source: The Straits Times)