It is expected to have limited impact as Republicans in US states push a wave of laws restricting abortion, access to medication and funding for such services.
‘Last night in Kansas they found out’
The vote was a resounding win for the abortion rights movement in the first statewide electoral test since the Supreme Court ruling.
President Joe Biden, left, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough attend the first meeting of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access virtually in Washington on Wednesday, 3 August 2022. Source: AAP / AP
“I don’t think the court has any notion for that matter or the Republican party for that matter…how women are going to respond. They don’t have a clue about the power of American women,” Mr Biden said.
“This fight is not over and we saw that last night in Kansas,” Mr Biden said.
The Supreme Court “practically dared women in this country go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose,” that it had just stripped away, Mr Biden said.
Impact of Roe v Wade ruling
Last month, Biden said the Supreme Court, which is weighted 6-3 with conservative judges, was “out of control” after ruling in June to overturn Roe v Wade, ending a half-century of protections for women’s reproductive rights.
It calls on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider inviting states to apply for Medicaid waivers when treating patients who cross state lines for reproductive health services, the official said, without giving additional details.
What does the order entail?
The Hyde Amendment, a Congressional measure, states that Medicaid will not pay for an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, making the effectiveness of the order uncertain.
Senate Democrats rejected Mr Biden’s call to lift the chamber’s “filibuster” rule requiring 60 of the 100 senators to agree on most legislation to allow them to pass a law establishing a national right to abortion.
Kansas abortion vote rocks US midterms outlook
The surprise vote in Republican-heavy Kansas to repudiate a push for abortion bans fired shockwaves through the US political landscape ahead of November’s midterm elections, with Mr Biden’s Democrats now seeing a glimmer of hope that they may avoid their predicted drubbing.
The state is a Republican stronghold, but in Tuesday’s referendum, a bid to remove abortion rights from the Kansas constitution was rejected by 59 to 41 per cent, with an unusually heavy turnout.
Given this was the first time Americans had an opportunity to vote on the issue since the conservative-dominated Supreme Court ruled to overturn the half-century-old Roe v Wade decision enshrining abortion rights, Democrats are celebrating the result — and say a major backlash is only beginning.
The organisation’s president, Alexis McGill Johnson, also called on voters to keep up the momentum into the midterms.
“We have the opportunity to protect abortion access at the ballot box in November. We know that Kansas will not be our last fight or our last victory.”
The November midterms, which will decide which party controls Congress for the last two years of Mr Biden’s first term, are shaping up as rough for Democrats who even now only control the legislature by a few votes.
Donald Trump is pushing hardline right-wing candidates to boost his brand and possibly set the stage for his own attempted White House comeback in 2024.