On Friday, a passionate President Biden vowed to defend reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s quashing of Roe v. Wade.
“This Court has made it clear that it will not protect women’s rights,” the president said wrote in a tweet from the official @POTUS Twitter account. “I will. That’s why I’m signing an Executive Order today to protect access to reproductive health care.”
But an executive order has limited power to overturn the effects of a Supreme Court ruling, and will have no effect on the legality of abortions nationwide. However, it may use federal funds for efforts to assist with consequences in states that prohibit the procedure.
Here’s some of what’s in the order:A formal request for a report, within 30 days, from the Secretary of Health and Human Services on further steps the department will take to protect reproductive rights. According to the White House, these could include expanding access to intrauterine devices or IUDs and changing guidelines about physician responsibilities as required by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. (U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has already said states cannot ban mifepristone, an FDA-approved drug to end early pregnancies known as the “abortion pill.” White House to rally pro-bono lawyers and volunteer attorneys to prepare for future legal battle involving patients and health care providers who lawfully seek or offer abortions Calling the Federal Trade Commission to take action to protect consumer privacy safeguards in seeking information about reproductive health care, and for the Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, to keep sensitive reproductive health data private. A levy to protect mobile clinics that deployed at the borders of states with a ban on abortion.
In the wake of the SCOTUS abortion ruling last month, many states have already enacted restrictions and bans on abortion access, with some also targeting birth control. Several major companies have pledged to cover travel and medical expenses for workers who must leave the state to access abortion care, but the practice raises privacy concerns. Read all of our coverage of the role of business in advocacy for abortion access here.
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