White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lashed out this week at Louisiana lawmakers for the state’s new abortion bill, calling it “the latest step in a growing attack against the fundamental freedoms of Americans.”
The newly minted press secretary, the first Black and openly gay individual to hold the post, called the bill radical.
“Louisiana’s extreme bill will criminalize abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest and punish reproductive health care professionals with up to 10 years in prison,” Jean-Pierre said Monday in the White House briefing room.
The Republican-dominated bicameral body of state legislators overwhelming approved a bill that toughens trigger laws already on the books in Louisiana. Those laws will immediately become effective if the Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that removes constitutional protections for abortions.
In April, a leaked draft of the high court’s opinion on Roe v. Wade revealed the justice’s plan to overturn the statute.
The Louisiana bill would ban most abortions, including rape and incest. Abortion clinics would shutter, and doctors would face criminal charges if they performed illegal abortions. However, the legislation does allow for abortion if the life of a pregnant mother is at risk.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who reportedly opposes abortion, has signaled he would sign the bill into law.
The Biden administration has argued strongly in defense of Roe v. Wade. President Biden has contended that Roe “is based on a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty against government interference with intensely personal decisions.’”
Biden has called a woman’s right to choose “fundamental.”
Following the enactment of a law in Texas that restricted women’s reproductive rights, Biden directed the Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an administration response to what he called the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, including under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court.
“We will be ready when any ruling is issued,” Biden said last month. “If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.”
More than a dozen Republican-led states have so-called trigger laws that would immediately outlaw and penalize anyone involved in an abortion, including doctors and patients.
“The president is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Americans afforded by Roe for nearly 50 years and ensuring that women can make their own choices about their lives, bodies, and families,” Jean-Pierre said. “An overwhelming majority of the American people agree and reject these kinds of radical measures.”