( ENSPIRE News ) Biden’s Executive Order Prioritizes Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abigail Elcock
On August 3, United States President Joseph Biden signed his newest executive order in response to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. Biden signed the order while virtually attending Vice President Harris’s first task force meeting on reproductive health access. This is the task force Biden created last month through a separate executive order.
The new order, titled Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services, does as its name suggests. As the law has become uncertain surrounding the Roe v. Wade overturning, essential medical care has been restricted or outright denied. Addressing the task force about the impact of Roe v. Wade, Biden firmly expressed, “Women can’t choose. Can’t get an abortion even in the case of incest. Even in the case of rape. But it goes beyond that.”
The executive order outlines just how the overturning goes even beyond allowing women to choose. New extreme measures include “reports of women…being denied prescription medication at pharmacies—including medication that is used to treat stomach ulcers, lupus, arthritis, and cancer—due to concerns that these medications…could be used to terminate a pregnancy.” This is why President Biden felt compelled to sign this order and encourage his “administration to take further action to protect access to reproductive healthcare services and to address the crisis facing women’s health and public health more broadly.”
Permitting Medicaid coverage for abortions across state lines is one feature of the order that has garnered the most attention. This decision will likely help those most in need as one-third of all patients seeking out-of-state abortions are already on Medicaid. At this time, the specifics of what Medicaid will and will not cover are not known.
This new executive order was signed only one day after Kansas voters rejected an amendment that would restrict abortion rights. At the task force meeting, Biden directly addressed this saying, “The voters of Kansas sent a powerful signal that this fall the American people will vote to preserve and protect the right and refuse to let them be ripped away by politicians. And my administration has their back.”
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