Democrats and Republicans in Congress discussed their next moves in...

Democrats and Republicans in Congress discussed their next moves in the ongoing abortion debate Sunday while outside the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion-rights advocates and opponents continued to gather. Credit: Getty Images / Brandon Bell

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade sparked calls Sunday for action from lawmakers on both sides of the abortion debate — Republicans weighing further restrictions, and Democrats demanding the Biden administration move to protect access and expand the court.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said the state will move forward with legislation she signed earlier this year essentially banning physicians from prescribing federally approved abortion pills to patients via telemedicine consultations.

Noem said she was prepared to defend the state’s restriction on abortion pills against a Justice Department challenge.

“What the Supreme Court said was that the Constitution does not give a woman the right to have an abortion, that means that in each state they will make the decision how they handle these situations,” Noem said when pressed on how the state will enforce its telemedicine restrictions.

In a statement after Friday's 6-3 ruling, the Justice Department said it would take steps to legally defend access to abortion pills and contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The majority conservative court overturned two key decisions — Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that for decades established abortion as a federally protected right.

In response, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that President Joe Biden should consider proposals from more than two dozen Democratic senators urging him to “to explore opening health care clinics on federal lands in red states in order to help people access the health care and abortion services that they need.”

Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that Biden has indicated he is interested in expanding access to abortion pills.

"But also, what I believe that the president and the Democratic Party needs to come to terms with is that this is not just a crisis of Roe," she said, "this is a crisis of our democracy.” 

Biden, in a White House speech Friday, said he had ordered the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services to “take steps to ensure that these critical medications are available to the fullest extent possible and that politicians cannot interfere in the decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), whose state was one of 13 that had so-called “trigger laws” on the books that banned abortions once the Supreme Court overturned Roe, said it should be left up to states whether emergency contraception pills or so-called “morning after pills” like Plan-B, should be considered legal.

“Every state again will make that determination,” Hutchinson said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who previously called on Biden to use his executive powers “to declare a public health emergency to protect abortion access for all Americans,” said Sunday she also supported proposals backed by progressive Democrats for Congress to use its authorities to expand the number of seats on the court.

“This court has lost legitimacy,” Warren said on ABC’s “This Week.” “They have burned whatever legitimacy they may still have had after their gun decision, after their voting decision, after their union decision. They just took the last of it and set a torch to it with the Roe v. Wade opinion. I believe we need to get some confidence back in our court, and that means we need more justices on the United States Supreme Court.”

The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the right to set the size of the nation’s highest bench. The size of the court has changed six times over the course of its history, but not since 1869, according to the Supreme Court website.

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