President Joe Biden on Wednesday lauded voters in Kansas for rejecting a constitutional measure that would have stripped abortion protections from the state’s constitution.
The amendment’s defeat on Tuesday was the first ballot box reflection of voters’ beliefs on access to abortion since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June. The measure was handily rejected, by a margin of nearly 20 points as of Wednesday morning, in an election with an unusually high turnout for a midterm primary.
“In the opinion of the Dobbs case, the extreme majority of the Supreme Court wrote … ‘women are not without electoral or political power,’” Biden said on Wednesday, referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “The court practically dared women in this country to go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose. … In Kansas, they found out women and men did exercise their electoral political power with a record turnout.”
Biden made his remarks virtually at the first meeting of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, while he is dealing with a rebound case of Covid-19 and after again testing positive on Wednesday morning.
Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough also attended the meeting.
The failed Kansas amendment comes as the Biden administration makes a move to protect pregnant people who travel for access to reproductive care. Biden signed an executive order at Wednesday’s meeting that would examine ways to protect pregnant people who have to travel out of state for an abortion if their state bans it.
The order directs Becerra to work with states to help people who need to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare. It also directs HHS to look into providing Medicare waivers for abortion procedures for pregnant people who have to travel out of state for the procedure.