(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting Friday with Democratic governors who have moved to protect access to abortion in their states in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Biden told governors from nine different states that he is “looking at all the alternatives” for protecting abortion access following the Supreme Court decision.
The president described the ruling as “tragic” and warned that Republicans could try to enact a nationwide ban on abortion if they retake control of Congress.
While Biden mentioned support for changing Senate rules to codify nationwide abortion protections — a process that would include ending the legislative filibuster rule — he conceded that Democrats currently lack the votes, adding that the party’s goal should be to pick up two seats in the midterm elections to do so.
“So the choice is clear. We either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who elect the House and Senate that will try to ban abortions nationwide,” he said.
At least two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have blocked efforts to sidestep the filibuster.
The White House has been engaging with state officials over the past several weeks to discuss restrictive abortion laws and ways to protect access to the procedure.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul suggested that Biden consider having abortions performed at federal facilities like Veterans Affairs hospitals or military bases in states that restrict abortions.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Native American tribes, which have a level of sovereignty over their own lands, could also be valuable partners.
Among the demands from Democratic governors:
- Fund reproductive telehealth
- Abortion services at federal facilities
- Support abortion medication delivery via USPS
The group of governors also said the federal government should push to protect interstate travel for the purposes of getting an abortion.
“We’re in the process of looking at all the alternatives,” Biden said.
The Associated Press and The Hill contributed to this report.