Jan 22, 2024 - Health

Biden focuses on reproductive rights on Roe anniversary

Biden delivers remarks on reproductive rights at a 2022 White House event. Photo: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden is highlighting his administration's efforts to protect reproductive rights, aiming to use the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to elevate an issue that Democrats believe will turn out voters this fall.

Driving the news: The Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services departments issued updated guidance Monday on how health plans can expand access to free birth control and ensure they're complying with the Affordable Care Act requirements for FDA-approved contraception.

  • HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra also sent a letter to insurers and state health officials reminding them about upholding their obligations under federal law.
  • Health officials are also launching an education campaign to increase awareness among patients and health care providers about the right to emergency abortion care under a federal law known as EMTALA — though the administration's guidance on the issue has been in dispute and will be reviewed by the Supreme Court this term.

The Biden campaign over the weekend released its first abortion ad of the year, a 60-second spot that features Austin Dennard, a Texas OB-GYN and mother of three who said she had to leave the state to end a planned pregnancy after learning the fetus had a fatal condition.

  • "It's every woman's worst nightmare, and it was absolutely unbearable," Dennard said in the ad, in which she blames former President Trump for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
  • The ad is running on national TV during the season premiere of "The Bachelor," and it will air in battleground states this week on cable channels with larger audiences of younger and female viewers like HGTV, Bravo and Hallmark, as well as next weekend's NFL playoff games.

Vice President Harris is in Wisconsin today, the 51st anniversary of Roe, to kick off a tour focused on reproductive rights. She'll join Biden — and their spouses — for a campaign rally in Northern Virginia on Tuesday.

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