President Biden has signed yet another abortion-related Executive Order to “secur[e] access to reproductive and other healthcare services.” The order directs Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra “to consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services,” including the use of waivers, which would allow states in which abortion is legal to provide Medicaid coverage — at taxpayer expense — to out-of-state residents.
It also directs Secretary Becerra to “consider all appropriate actions to ensure health care providers comply with Federal non-discrimination laws so that women receive medically necessary care without delay.”
Thirdly, the order directs Becerra “to evaluate and improve research, data collection, and data analysis efforts at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on maternal health and other health outcomes.”
“Secretary Becerra is going to work with states through Medicaid to allow them to provide reproductive health care for women who live in states where abortions are being banned in that state,” President Biden said. “The executive order makes sure health care providers comply with federal law so women don’t face delays or denials of medically necessary care. And this executive order advances research and data collection to evaluate the impact that this reproductive health crisis is having on maternal health and other health conditions and health outcomes.”
This is Biden’s second abortion-related Executive Order. His first order mandated expanded access to abortion pills, strengthened enforcement of the Obama Administration’s birth control mandate, and organized pro bono legal representation for anyone facing abortion-related charges. That order also provided $3 million in new funding for family planning organizations, made provision for federal employees traveling for abortion to receive leave, and protected access to abortion for women in the military.
The White House’s fact sheet on today’s Executive Order states: “President Biden continues to call on Congress to codify the right to abortion into federal law and has said he would support changing the filibuster rules to codify Roe v. Wade into law.”
This highlights the limitations of what Biden’s Executive Branch can do on its own, which even Biden himself has admitted: “The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose and the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law. No executive action from the president can do that.”
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