The White House has announced that President Joe Biden will sign Friday’s executive order aimed at “protecting the access to reproductive health.”
The latest response by the Biden administration to Roe v. Wade’s Supreme Court decision to reverse it is called the “Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services”. Biden called the decision a “tragic mistake” and some Democrats have been quietly questioning their response.
Only Congress can codify abortion rights. According to the White House, Biden’s executive orders are meant to “build on the actions that his Administration has taken to protect reproductive rights.” Biden’s executive order creates an “interagency task force” that will coordinate federal policymaking and program development to counter the Supreme Court’s decision. The administration pointed out that this task force includes Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose job it is to “provide technical assistance to state affording legal protection to out-of-state patients.” The task force will include Attorney General Merrick Galrland. He will also be providing technical assistance to the state to provide legal protection for out-of-state clients . According to the White House, this order directs Secretary Xavier Becerra, Department of Health and Human Services, to take additional actions to combat the Supreme Court decision.
“HHS “will take steps to make sure all patients, including those who are pregnant or have suffered a loss of pregnancy, have full access to emergency medical care rights and protections afforded by the law. This includes considering updated guidance to clarify the physician’s responsibilities and protects under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. (EMTALA)”, the administration stated.
Notably, the administration also said it plans to convene a group of pro-bono lawyers “to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking or offering” abortions throughout the U.S.
“Such representation could include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care,” the White House fact sheet reads, honing in on Biden’s push that a woman must be allowed to travel safely out of her home state if seeking an abortion.
The executive order addresses privacy concerns, which Biden also raised after the Supreme Court’s decision. Biden wants the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking measures to ensure privacy of consumers when they seek information on abortion. The Administration will protect patients and providers as well as other entities providing or dispensing reproductive health care services. The White House noted that this charge also covers efforts to safeguard mobile clinics which were deployed at borders in order to provide care for patients from out of state. Biden expressed frustration during his recent overseas trip, saying that the Supreme Court of the United States had overruled Roe. However, he also challenged the privacy
. The president made headlines during that trip by announcing that he would support a filibuster cut-out to codify Roe. (RELATED: Biden Warns Of A ‘Mini Revolution’ If SCOTUS Overturns Roe)
“The first and foremost thing we should do is make it clear how outrageous this decision was and how much it impacts not just on a women’s right to choose, which is a critical, critical piece, but on privacy generally,” Biden said during the press conference in Spain at the end of June. The most important thing is that we codify Roe v. Wade. This means that Congress must vote to pass it
“. If the filibuster gets in our way like voting rights, then we will provide an exception. We require an exemption to the filibuster to allow us to take action regarding the Supreme Court’s decision.” the president said.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Silena from Arizona remain staunchly opposed to any exceptions. This means that the Biden administration might not hold its breath for Congress codifying Roe v. Wade.