On Friday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directed at protecting abortion access and other healthcare services and measures, including contraceptives and the right to privacy.
The President’s order comes two weeks after the historic 6-3 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the landmark 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, rescinding nearly 50 years of federal protections for reproductive rights.
In a press conference, the president said, “The Court and its allies are committed to moving America backward with fewer rights, less autonomy and politicians invading their most personal decisions. Remember the reason the decision has an impact much beyond Roe and the right to privacy generally, marriage equality, contraception. So much more is at risk. This decision affects everyone, unrelated to choice, beyond choice. We cannot allow an out-of-control Supreme Court, working in conjunction with extremist elements of the Republican party to take away freedoms and our personal autonomy.”
According to the White House fact sheet, the administration is committed to promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics, and coordinating the implementation of Federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.
In addition, the Executive Order is aimed at building on ongoing actions the administration is taking to protect the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information.
President Biden has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reinforce protection of people’s access to medication abortion, ensure emergency medical care, convene pro bono attorneys and other advocacy groups to provide representation in issues including protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care. Medical professionals are urged to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule to protect confidential patient information.
The Biden-Harris administration seeks to launch outreach and public education efforts for Americans to better understand their rights and resources.
Announcing $3 million in new funding, the Secretary of HHS directed all related agencies to ensure all providers and clinics are equipped with appropriate training and resources to handle family planning needs. On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, HHS launched ReproductiveRights.gov , providing up to date and accurate information about reproductive rights and access.
Other federally directed protection measures include providing leave for federal workers traveling for medical care and extending protections to service members, DoD civilians, and military families.