(The Hill) — Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during an interview aired Sunday that he doesn’t think the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will stand for long.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that nothing’s ever totally safe,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But remember, we still haven’t even been able to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. And so this country has a way to go. But certainly I don’t believe this decision by this court and Dobbs is going to stand long. This is just not America.”
The Supreme Court ruled last month that it would be overturning Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. Some Democrats have voiced frustration over party leaders and the Biden administration for not taking more forceful action in the wake of the high court’s ruling or for their immediate response to the decision.
President Biden on Thursday did call for an exemption to be made to the filibuster for codifying abortion rights.
“Well, I tell them, ‘Give us some good ideas.’ We’re going to explore everything we can,” Becerra replied when he was asked by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd about what he would tell Democrats who feel that the party is not fighting hard enough.
“And I also would ask them to please pass a law. They have it in their power, if they can find the votes to actually codify the Roe decision, which is what we need more than anything else … We will find what we can and do as much as we can,” he continued. “But when you are stripped of a right, as the Supreme Court has just done to every woman of childbearing age, it is tough to overcome. It took 50 years for us to get as far as we did. Now we have to figure out how to do this. It will not be easy.”
The Health and Human Services secretary explained that while proposals have been offered, it does not necessarily mean the Biden administration can readily act on them.
“We have to make sure, Chuck, that we stay within the confines of the law and that we have the resources to do it, and that our authorities allow us to do it,” he responded when he was asked to elaborate on the idea of transporting women to other states to receive abortions.
Becerra’s comments come as a patchwork of states across the country has quickly rolled back abortion access, though some state laws are now paused amid legal challenges that were filed soon after the Supreme Court’s decision.