WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at helping women cross state lines to obtain abortions. His second order since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the trial.
That order directs The Department of Health and Human Services is said to be “considering” allowing Medicaid funds to help people traveling between states to obtain abortions. The order also directs HHS to ensure healthcare providers comply with federal anti-discrimination laws so that women receive “prompt medically necessary care.”
Biden, speaking virtually with his newly formed task force on reproductive health care access as he continues his Covid isolation, called the state of abortion access a “healthcare crisis” and warned Republicans are banning the procedure statewide want.
Kansas voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a voting measure that would have eliminated language in the state’s constitution protecting abortion rights.
“This fight isn’t over, and we saw that in Kansas last night,” Biden said. “The court practically challenged women in this country to go to the polls and restore the right to vote.”
Kansas, which borders states that have restricted access to abortion after the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade pick up, have severely restricted, including Oklahoma and Missouri, has already become a destination for out-of-state women seeking access to abortion care.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it is up to HHS to ensure that the order’s implementation does not violate the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life. It’s unclear how HHS will do this, and the order is likely to be legally challenged by conservatives.
“This is being done in consultation with legal experts as we make these announcements, and the President has made it very clear that he will continue to do everything possible to ensure that a woman’s right to vote continues to be protected to the best of the federal government,” she said .
Jean-Pierre also said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will “figure out the details and the schedule.”
Biden last month signed an executive order to ensure access to reproductive health services, including abortion and contraception.
Still, the measures fall short of what some Democrats and proponents have called for, such as declaring a public health emergency over abortion.
Biden has claimed that the best way to ensure access to abortion is for Congress to pass legislation legalizing access to abortion nationwide, a move Democrats don’t have enough votes for.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure access to healthcare,” Biden said. “If Congress doesn’t act, the people of this country must elect senators and representatives who will restore Roe and protect the right to privacy, liberty and equality.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-signs-executive-order-aimed-helping-women-travel-abortion-rcna41401 Biden signs executive order aimed at helping women travel for abortion