Biden signs executive order on abortion access
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will take executive action on Friday to protect access to abortion, the White House has said, as he faces growing pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court terminated a constitutional right to process two weeks ago.
The White House said Biden would talk about “protecting access to reproductive health services.” The actions he was supposed to describe are intended to attempt to mitigate some potential penalties that women seeking abortions could face after the ruling, but are limited in their ability to ensure nationwide access to abortion.
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Biden should formalize instructions to the justice and health and human services departments to push back on efforts to limit women’s ability to access federally-approved abortion drugs or cross state lines to access at clinics abortion services.
His executive order will also direct agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers on how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities — an effort to protect women who seek or use abortion services. . He will also ask the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those who seek reproductive care information online and create an interagency task force to coordinate federal efforts to ensure access to the ‘abortion.
The White House said it would also summon pro bono attorneys to provide women and providers with pro bono legal assistance to help them navigate new state restrictions after the Supreme Court ruling.
The order, following the June 24 High Court ruling that ended the nation’s abortion rights and left it to states to determine whether or how to allow the procedure, comes as Biden has come under fire from some members of his own party for not acting with more urgency. protect women’s access to abortion. The decision in the so-called case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed the court’s landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade.
Since the decision, Biden has stressed that his ability to protect abortion rights through executive action is limited without congressional action.
“Ultimately, Congress will have to act to codify Roe into federal law,” Biden said last week during the a virtual meeting with the Democratic governors.
The Department of Justice and HHS mission should push agencies to fight in court to protect women, but that does not guarantee that the justice system will take their side against possible lawsuits by states that have decided to prohibit abortion.
“President Biden has made it clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to reinstate Roe’s protections as federal law,” the White House said. “In the meantime, he is committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju called Biden’s order “an important first step in restoring the rights stripped from millions of Americans by the Supreme Court.”
But Lawrence Gostin, who directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health at Georgetown Law, called Biden’s plans “disappointing.”
“There is nothing I have seen that can affect the lives of ordinary poor women living in red states,” he said.
Gostin encouraged Biden to take a more forceful approach to ensuring access to medical abortion across the country and said Medicaid should consider covering transportation to other states for the purpose of having an abortion.
Gostin said, “We basically have two Americas.” There’s one where people have access to a full range of health care, and “another where citizens don’t have the same rights to safe and effective treatment as the rest of the country.”
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the AP that the agency was looking at how Medicaid could cover travel for abortions, along with a range of other proposals, but acknowledged that “Medicaid abortion coverage is extremely limited.
Biden’s decision was the latest push to protect the data privacy of those considering or seeking abortion, as regulators and lawmakers consider the implications of the Supreme Court ruling.
The court ruling is expected to make abortion illegal in more than a dozen states and severely restricted in others. Privacy experts say this could leave women vulnerable as their personal data could be used to monitor pregnancies and shared with police or sold to vigilantes. Experts say online searches, location data, texts and emails, and even period-following apps, could be used to prosecute people seeking abortions — or medical care in the process. cases of miscarriage – as well as those who assist them.
Privacy advocates are monitoring possible new actions by law enforcement in affected states – serving subpoenas, for example, to tech companies such as Google, Apple, Bing, Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, services like Uber and Lyft, and internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Comcast. Local prosecutors can go before sympathetic judges to get search warrants for user data.
Last month, four Democratic lawmakers asked the FTC to investigate Apple and Google for allegedly deceiving millions of mobile phone users by allowing their personal data to be collected and sold to third parties.
AP writers Marcy Gordon and Hillary Powell contributed to this report.
For full AP coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, go to https://apnews.com/hub/abortion.
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