Updated Aug 3, 2022 - Health

Biden issues second executive order to protect abortion access

Picture of Joe Biden

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to protect people's ability to travel out of state to access abortion.

The big picture: This is the second executive order the president has issued to preserve abortion access after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

State of play: Biden signed the executive order during the first meeting of the White House's Task Force on Reproductive Health Care, which is focused on coordinating the federal government's efforts on reproductive health.

Details: The executive order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to "consider action to advance access" to reproductive health services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state.

  • Biden is also asking HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider "all appropriate actions" to ensure that health providers follow federal nondiscrimination laws so that people can "receive medically necessary care without delay."
  • Becerra must also "evaluate and improve research, data collection, and data analysis efforts" on maternal health.

What he's saying: Biden said this executive order will respond to "the health care crisis that has unfolded since the Supreme Court overturned Roe and that women are facing all across America."

  • The order will "help safeguard access to health care, including the right to choose and contraception. [It] promotes safety and security of clinics, patients and providers, and protect patients' privacy and access to accurate information."
  • "I believe Roe got it right. It's been the law for close to 50 years. And I committed to the American people that we are doing everything in our power safeguard access to health care, including the right to choose that women had under Roe v. Wade, which was ripped away by this extreme court."

Zoom out: Although the Biden administration has taken several steps to respond to the Supreme Court ruling, the executive branch's role when it comes to protecting abortion care is limited without congressional action.

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