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Biden signs executive order on abortion access

WASHINGTON (CBS News) -- President Biden signed an executive order Friday aimed at protecting access to abortion, as he faces mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure two weeks ago. The president blasted the court's decision, and urged Americans to vote for candidates in November who support abortion rights legislation.

"This was not a decision driven by the Constitution, and despite what those justices in the majority said, this was not a decision driven by history," Mr. Biden said at the White House Friday, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

The actions the president outlined Friday are intended to try to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling but are limited in their ability to safeguard access to abortion nationwide.

Specifically, the executive order asks the Justice Department to do everything within its power to protect women seeking abortion, including protecting women's right to travel to another state for an abortion and to protect access to Food and Drug Administration-approved abortion drugs. The order also directs the Health and Human Services Department to ensure all women and girls experiencing pregnancy loss receive the emergency care they need, no matter what state they're in. The executive order also protects access to contraception and expands access to free contraception, Mr. Biden said.

"Consider the challenge accepted," he said, addressing the high court. "But in the meantime, I'm signing this important executive order."

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