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Biden’s Long Game on Abortion Runs Into Harsh New Reality

Sergio Flores/Getty After the Supreme Court unexpectedly allowed a near-total ban on abortions to go into effect in Texas earlier this month, the White House tasked a newly-formed internal office with helping coordinate an “all-of-government” response to the most aggressive strike against abortion access in nearly half a century.

On Monday afternoon, the White House’s response finally began to take shape.

In a policy statement released by White House officials, the Biden administration declared that it “strongly supports” the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act , legislation that would protect the right to receive abortion services under federal law.

“In the wake of Texas’ unprecedented attack, it has never been more important to codify this constitutional right and to strengthen health care access for all women, regardless of where they live,” the statement says. “The constitutional rights of women are essential to the health, safety, and progress of our nation. Our daughters and granddaughters deserve the same rights that their mothers and grandmothers fought for and won—and that a clear majority of the American people support. We will not allow this country to go backwards on women’s equality.”

In the statement, the White House committed to working with Congress to pass the legislation. But, like other Democrats who have voiced support for the bill, did not outline a legislative strategy to overcome a near-certain filibuster of the legislation—or how to prioritize the act as the Senate remains entangled in fights over infrastructure legislation, the looming debt ceiling, spending bills and reconciliation.

The White House has tasked its Gender Policy Council—a first-of-its-kind group chaired by Jennifer Klein, a former senior advisor in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, and Julissa Reynoso, chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden and nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Spain—with being the administration’s point of contact for the pro-choice movement. Its mission, according to administration officials, is to help coordinate the response to S.B. 8 across different executive branches.

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