President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a “whole-of-government” response to “ensure” abortion access in Texas, after the state’s pro-life law went into effect on Wednesday.

In a Thursday statement, the president – a Catholic – directed his administration to examine “what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the “Texas Heartbeat Act” went into effect. The law prohibits abortions in the state after the detection of a fetal heartbeat – which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It can be enforced by private lawsuits. The law went into effect Wednesday, after the Supreme Court had not yet acted on a petition to block it.

Late Wednesday night, the court ultimately rejected the petition to block the law in a 5-4 decision. Biden denounced the decision as “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights” to abortion.

Biden said he was directing his White House Gender Policy Council, as well as the White House counsel, “to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision,” reviewing “what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties….”

The above comes from a Sept. 2 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.