WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As states across the country move to restrict abortion access, the White House is working to protect it.
President Joe Biden held a roundtable discussion on Friday with local leaders to talk about what comes next. During the discussion, leaders from across the country got to share their thoughts on reproductive rights with the president and his team.
White House Gender Policy Council official Jen Klein says getting to hear from them is an important part of the administration’s work.
“We’re hearing from state and local officials about what they’re seeing and the challenges that they’re facing and how the administration can help them,” Klein said.
Local leaders also say the conversations are critical as they partner with the Biden administration and each other to try to find creative ways to protect access to abortion in their states.
President Biden has already issued executive orders meant to ensure women can travel to receive and have privacy around reproductive health care.
Judge Lina Hidalgo from Harris County, Texas wants to see more federal action.
“My message to the president is we need help. We’re the last line of defense and right now we need support,” Hidalgo said. “In terms of funding for contraceptive care, in terms of support transporting women who need abortion out of state, fighting these laws in court.”
Durham, North Carolina Mayor Elaine O’Neal says cooperation with the federal government is crucial.
“It really has to be a coordinated effort,” O’Neal said.
Mount Vernon, New York Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard says states with abortion access have an important role in helping women in other states.
“We must provide a safe haven for them. We have to increase the access that’s available for those who have to cross state lines,” Patterson-Howard said.
Kansas State Sen. Dinah Sykes hopes her state’s recent vote to keep abortion rights in the Kansas Constitution serves as a powerful example.
“It’s going to take everyday citizens engaging so that we can right this ship,” Sykes said.
Ultimately, the president says the real solution is for voters to elect representatives that will pass federal abortion protections.