Despite mounting frustration from Democrats aching for a more assertive White House response, Senator Elizabeth Warren praised the Biden administration’s statements on the overturn of Roe v. Wade and instead focused her fire on so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which seek to convince people not to seek abortions.
“The Biden administration has already begun to move in powerful ways, and I applaud them for that,” she said at a Wednesday press conference with Senator Edward J. Markey and abortion-rights activists.
In the wake of the Supreme Court repealing Roe’s right for pregnant people to choose abortion, Warren has emerged as one of the most forceful voices calling for Democrats in Congress and the White House to take action to protect abortion access across the country. Though not the only Democrat to have taken on the question of how to shore up abortion rights, Warren has made waves with some of her proposals, such as calling for abortion clinics to be opened on federal land, which the White House met with skepticism.
Still, Warren continues to express optimism about the executive steps the Biden administration is taking to assure access to medication abortion and protect those who travel between states to get abortions. “This is a moment when it’s all hands on deck and I think the Biden administration is showing us great leadership here,” she told reporters at a separate event Tuesday night.
Warren also called for increased action in Massachusetts and at the national level against crisis pregnancy centers, organizations that dissuade women from seeking abortion care. Warren, along with three other Democrats, introduced legislation in the House and Senate last week to crack down on the false advertising that these centers employ, which often present themselves as medical facilities but exist to talk people out of getting an abortion.
Warren warned that these centers outnumber genuine abortion clinics in Massachusetts, a problem, she and other advocates said, that may worsen as anti-abortion groups focus their attention here with the goal of further limiting abortion.
“Deceiving people in order to provide services, in order to provide products is wrong and outlawed in most contexts,” Warren said. “And the idea that centers have sprung up to prey on people who are pregnant and vulnerable and seek help is fundamentally wrong.”
Warren’s comments follow a town hall event Tuesday night in which the senator urged angry supporters of abortion rights in Massachusetts to take immediate action in other states to help women obtain abortions and influence the vote where reproductive rights are on the ballot.
“Are you ready to play a little offense?” Warren asked supporters at an evening meet-and-greet outside the public library in Winchester. “We live in the electronic age. You can actually volunteer in Kansas from Winchester.”
Warren said voters can donate money and time to efforts to change the state constitutions in Kansas and Michigan. In Kansas, she said, the state constitution already protects abortion but Republicans have launched an effort to reverse it; in Michigan, a petition drive is underway to amend the constitution to protect abortion rights.
She also urged abortion rights supporters to take immediate action to “take care of people who are pregnant right now and live in one of the states that has outlawed access to abortion,” suggesting they send money to reproductive rights organizations and abortion funds that help patients get abortions.
In recent days, Democrats and activists have expressed increasing frustration with the Biden administration for failing to take immediate action to counter an abortion rights reversal, instead encouraging people to express their disapproval by voting in November. Though Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of Congress, the opposition of two conservative Democrats in the Senate has blocked efforts to codify abortion protections.
“It gets a little disheartening when you’re out there protesting and doing all the things you should do and voting and still not seeing things,” Cherryl Hanson-Bull of Wakefield told Warren in front of the crowd of about 150 people. “I don’t want to sit and wait until it’s time to vote. I want to know what we can do now on the ground.”
Asked Tuesday how she could convince other Democrats in Congress to be more “aggressive” in fighting abortion restrictions, Warren stressed the importance of Democrats doing well in November’s midterm elections.
“This four months really is the whole game. If the Republicans seize control, they’ve already said where they’re heading,” she said. “And it’s not just Roe vs. Wade. It’s LGBTQ rights, it’s contraception, it’s second-class citizens, and it’s shutting down voting access.”