WASHINGTON (OSV News) — In reiterating his call to codify Roe v. Wade Feb. 7, President Joe Biden drew criticism from Catholic and other pro-life groups.
During his State of the Union address, Biden called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade “to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022 overturned the high court’s previous abortion-related precedents in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Several states have moved to either restrict or expand access to the procedure since the Dobbs ruling. Biden said he would veto any effort to restrict the procedure at a federal level.
“Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it,” Biden said.
The White House also released a list of individuals invited to join first lady Jill Biden in the viewing box for Biden’s speech who “personify issues or themes to be addressed by the president in his speech, or they embody the Biden-Harris administration’s policies at work for the American people,” according to a news release.
Those guests included Amanda and Josh Zurawski of Austin, Texas. The White House said Amanda nearly died of pregnancy complications after doctors wouldn’t intervene because they did not want to “violate the Texas abortion ban, which prohibits abortion care unless a woman’s life is in danger.” She later developed sepsis, according to the White House.
In a joint statement, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) said, “Our hearts go out to Amanda and Josh Zurawski,” but argued that there are “no laws in any state that prevent timely and compassionate care for a miscarriage — which is the exact care Ms. Zurawski needed.”
“Denying proper health care to patients facing miscarriage complications is not complying with the law,” the statement said. “Miscarriage care is not abortion.”
“Unfortunately, there are many abortion activists eager to exploit difficult situations like these and the people involved, in order to preserve the ability to kill preborn humans at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason,” the statement continued. “AAPLOG is dedicated to continuing education on excellent miscarriage care and providing women with fully informed consent, while supporting both of our patients — woman and child.”
Dr. Ingrid Skop, a board-certified OB/GYN and director of medical affairs at Charlotte Lozier Institute, argued that the law does not prevent doctors from intervening to save a pregnant woman’s life.
“Pro-life laws protect unborn children, but they continue to protect the lives of women as well,” Skop said.
Expressing concern for rights of health care providers
Louis Brown, executive director of Christ Medicus Foundation, criticized Biden’s position on abortion and expressed concern for the conscience rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in such procedures.
Brown said in a statement that Biden’s “anti-life and anti-religious freedom policy agendas that destroy unborn life, harm the dignity of pregnant mothers, and violate the religious freedom and medical conscience rights of healthcare professionals.”
“We hope, pray and encourage members of Congress and senators to work for pro-life legislation, defend against attacks on religious freedom and medical conscience rights, and to empower medical professionals, Catholic health centers, and other faith-based health care entities in their healing ministry to care and heal the sick, the suffering and the vulnerable,” he said.
Biden, a Catholic Democrat, touted job growth and a bipartisan infrastructure package passed during the first part of his term, while also advocating for his remaining agenda items including a ban on assault rifles, restoring the expired child tax credit and passing immigration reform.
Kate Scanlon is a national reporter for OSV News covering Washington. Follow her on Twitter @kgscanlon.