President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Friday to maintain access to reproductive health care in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the constitutional right to abortion.
The executive order aims to secure access to medication abortion and emergency contraception, protect patient privacy, start public education campaigns, and strengthen the security and legal choices accessible to people seeking and delivering abortion services.
“President Biden has stated unequivocally that the best way to ensure a woman’s freedom to choose is for Congress to reinstate Roe v. Wade safeguards as federal law.
Until then, he has pledged to do all in his power to safeguard reproductive rights and safe and legal abortion “On Friday, the White House issued a statement.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision, there is nothing the President can do to reinstate the countrywide right to abortion.
Biden has openly admitted that his choices for expanding abortion access remain limited, and he has urged the American people to elect more members of Congress who would support federal legislation safeguarding abortion access in the November midterm elections.
Several progressive suggestions to maintain abortion access have been denied by the White House, including permitting abortion physicians to work from government property in areas where the practice is illegal.
Using public lands for abortion services, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, would have “grave repercussions.” The White House has also stated that President Obama does not support the expansion of the Supreme Court, as many progressives have advocated.
Here is what is in the executive order issued on Friday:
The President has directed Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to provide him with a report on the activities his agency is taking on the subject within 30 days. In addition, the President is forming an interagency task team on reproductive health care access, which will include Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
According to the White House, HHS will take steps to increase access to emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception such as intrauterine devices, or IUDs.
The department is charged with ensuring that patients have “full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded by law,” and the President has directed Becerra to consider updating guidance that clarifies physician responsibilities and protections under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
Garland also stated that states cannot prohibit the use of Mifepristone, an FDA-approved drug used to stop early pregnancy.
The Department of Health and Human Services will increase its abortion outreach and public education efforts “to ensure that Americans have access to trustworthy and accurate information about their rights and access to treatment.”
In anticipation of anticipated legal challenges, the attorney general and White House counsel are assembling private pro bono attorneys and groups to give increased legal support to both people lawfully seeking abortions and those delivering them.
The executive order also emphasizes patient privacy. The President has asked the Federal Trade Commission’s chair to explore adopting actions to safeguard consumer privacy when seeking information about reproductive health care services.
Biden has also instructed Becerra to investigate measures to prevent misleading or fraudulent activities and preserve access to factual information in cooperation with Garland and the FTC.
The President has directed HHS to examine further steps to protect sensitive reproductive health information, including moves under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Becerra has asked the HHS Office for Civil Rights to produce new guidelines on the HIPAA Privacy Rule to emphasize that doctors and medical providers are not obligated, and in many situations are not authorized, to divulge patients’ private information to law enforcement.
The agency will also publish a consumer guide on how to secure personal data on mobile apps.
The order also seeks to safeguard the safety of people seeking and delivering abortion care, including mobile clinics that have been deployed to care for out-of-state patients.
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