HealthDay News — Under growing pressure from his own party, President Joe Biden on Friday issued an executive order designed to help protect women’s access to abortion.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ended nationwide access to abortion, guaranteed for nearly 50 years under the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.
Speaking to reporters at the White House before signing the executive order, Biden said the court’s decision was “terrible, extreme and, I think, so totally wrongheaded.” But he noted that while the order would help protect some access to reproductive services, electing more lawmakers who support abortion rights is the only way to really fight the ruling.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, efforts to ban the procedure went ahead in many states soon after, but Biden’s new executive order takes steps to rein in any penalties incurred by women who are seeking one.
For example, the executive action includes formal instructions to the US Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to resist attempts to prevent women from accessing federally approved abortion medications or emergency contraception or from traveling across state lines to visit clinics in places that still allow abortions. That could lead to legal pushback in the courts from states that have moved to outlaw abortion, however.
Agencies are also asked to educate health care providers and insurers on what information can be released to authorities when patients seek out an abortion, including instructions to the Federal Trade Commission regarding information transmitted online.