By Stacy M. Brown
With intense pressure from Democrats and constituents nationwide, President Biden signed an executive order attempting to ensure access to contraception and protect abortion services.
Biden said he’s ordering U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to take action to safeguard access to abortion care and emergency medical assistance.
Biden said he’s asked Becerra to increase outreach and public education efforts, and to engage private attorneys to represent patients.
He wants Becerra to report back to the White House within a month.
Protests and outcry have dominated the political sphere since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, triggering immediate bans on abortion in some states.
Biden has said he’s without authority to do anything about trying to reverse the high court’s decision.
He previously noted that an executive order would fall short of any meaningful impact on the ruling.
“No executive action from the president can do that,” Biden said last month when asking Congress to codify Roe v. Wade.
However, the president’s order seeks to help by safeguarding the privacy of patients and their information.
According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, Biden’s order “takes additional steps to protect patient privacy, including by addressing the transfer and sales of sensitive health-related data, combatting digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services, and protecting people seeking reproductive health care from inaccurate information, fraudulent schemes, or deceptive practices.”
To ensure the Federal government takes a swift and coordinated approach to addressing reproductive rights and protecting access to reproductive health care, the President’s Executive Order would:
- Establish an Interagency Task Force.
- The President has directed HHS and the White House Gender Policy Council to establish and lead an interagency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access, responsible for coordinating Federal interagency policymaking and program development.
- This Task Force will also include the Attorney General. In addition, the Attorney General will provide technical assistance to states affording legal protection to out-of-state patients as well as providers who offer legal reproductive health care.