Biden announces new executive order on abortion rights

Washington DC - The day after voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected Republicans' efforts to restrict abortions in their state, President Joe Biden insisted his administration "has their back" after issuing an executive order aimed at strengthening reproductive rights.

President Joe Biden announcing via video link an executive order aimed at strengthening reproductive rights.
President Joe Biden announcing via video link an executive order aimed at strengthening reproductive rights.  © REUTERS

It's been over a month since the US Supreme Court gutted the rights of half the population by overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Since then, over a dozen states have made abortion illegal, with laws that not only affect the citizens living there, but also create confusion and uncertainty for both those seeking and those providing abortions to navigate.

Speaking via video link on Tuesday as he continues to isolate after his rebound Covid infection, Biden painted a picture of the dire situation: "Emergency medical care being denied to women experiencing miscarriages, doctors uncertain about what they can do to provide for their patients, pharmacists unsure whether they can fill prescriptions that they've always filled before, a tragic case of rape survivors, including a 10-year-old girl forced to travel to another state for care."

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His executive order is meant to fix at least some of those problems, with the Department of Health and Human Services directed to guarantee care – even through Medicaid – for women seeking out-of-state abortions.

The move will also "ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination law," meaning that those seeking medical care will receive it "without delay."

Finally, Health and Human Services is expected to ramp up data-gathering efforts on maternal health, which "will accurately measure the impact that diminishing access to reproductive health care services has on women's health," according to an official speaking to CNN.

This is the second executive order related to reproductive health signed by Biden. At the start of July, the president issued an order protecting access to FDA-approved abortion medications, and to protect patient privacy rights and access to contraceptives.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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