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Exclusive: White House offers three-part plan for abortion rights

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Cheered by a victory in Kansas, where voters decisively rejected an abortion ban, and looking to November midterms, the White House is promoting a new three-pronged strategy to protect the right to abortion, sources with direct knowledge of the issue told Reuters, and he uses a different approach – reaching out to men.

In the new, previously unreported playbook, the Biden administration will rely on two specific federal laws to hone its federal litigation tactics against states that restrict abortion; collect data and research on the impact of restrictions on women and communicate it to voters; and come up with a cohesive message plan on how forced pregnancies negatively affect women and men.

Senior White House officials, advisers and abortion rights advocates have held several high-profile strategy and engagement calls in recent days, including an Aug. 4 call with nearly 2,000 attendees, to hear the administration’s plans, said the sources, who spoke about the condition. anonymity to discuss private meetings.

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Abortion rights advocates have in the past criticized US President Joe Biden’s administration for being slow to act on a Supreme Court ruling in June that ended the constitutional right to abortion. In recent days, the White House has invested new energy on the issue, they said. Two executive orders as well as ongoing engagement with key stakeholders led by Vice President Kamala Harris have allayed some concerns, they added. Read more

The White House is “really going all the way to try to promote its message on the midterm abortion issue,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the Institute for National and Global Health Law. from Georgetown University, who worked with the White Loger. “They’re hoping it plays well among suburban women and that was Biden’s advantage in the presidential election.”

A senior White House official said the administration believes the issue could win Democratic support from many Republican voters midterm.


The Biden administration plans to rely on two specific federal laws, predating the abortion ruling, to fight its legal challenges — the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Preemption from the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the sources said.

EMTALA requires hospitals that accept Medicare funds to provide medical treatment to people who arrive with an emergency medical condition. This includes providing a woman with an abortion if her life is in danger.

The law is the backbone of the US Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state of Idaho, but may be difficult to enforce, some legal experts say. Read more

The FDA’s preemption argues that states cannot ban an approved abortifacient drug because federal law prevails or overrides state law. More than 30 states have enacted laws that restrict access to drugs. Read more

Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which is also working with the White House on the issue, said the litigation strategy was key.

“It’s not just decrees and policies, it’s [legal]app,” she said.


The White House is also developing plans to replicate Kansas’ success for future races, the sources said. He is closely following ballot initiatives in California, Kentucky, Michigan and Vermont and gubernatorial races like Michigan, where abortion has become a central issue, sources said.

Kentucky is the one seeing renewed interest with California, NARAL’s Timmaraju said.

The White House is compiling research on the physical and mental harm women face if they are denied access to abortion, as well as the economic impact forced pregnancies can have on men, women and families ; and plans to communicate that to voters and come up with a cohesive messaging plan, sources said.

He will also target men in his messages, asking them to consider how their sisters, nieces, cousins ​​might be affected if abortions were not available, and the costs of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. , in an effort to broaden understanding, the sources said.

In 2020, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that women who are forced to have an unwanted baby face medical costs associated with prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum recovery in addition to costs associated with raising a child that exceeds $9,000 per year. Read more

Another message will be aimed at religious Americans, telling them they don’t have to change their faith to support abortion rights, they just need to stand up to government excesses, they said.

“The idea is to be much more disciplined and consistent in messaging to break through to the everyday American, which many rightly believe doesn’t happen as effectively,” one said. sources.

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Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington, Editing by Heather Timmons and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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