Biden signs executive order protecting nationwide access to abortion and contraception

Original Article Is HERE

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Biden signs executive order protecting nationwide access to abortion and contraception

US president Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday protecting access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision last month. The White House said the president will direct the Health and Human Services Department to take action to protect and expand access to medication abortion approved by the Food and Drug Administration and to ensure access to emergency medical care, family planning services and contraception.

The order aims to safeguard access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception; protect patients’ privacy and access to accurate information; and promote the safety and security of patients, providers and clinics, the White House said in a release.

To be sure, executive orders are often limited in scope, and as powerful as the American presidency can be, Biden can’t unilaterally snap his fingers and restore reproductive rights nationwide.

But according to a White House summary, Biden’s new order isn’t just a hollow, face-saving exercise of a Democratic president going through the motions. There are some worthwhile measures in the broader policy, including:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will expand access to abortion care through medication.

The White House and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office will convene “private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country.” This will apparently include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek reproductive care.

The administration is prioritizing patient privacy, including taking new steps to prevent the transfer and sales of sensitive health data, and blocking digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services. This will apparently include enlisting the Federal Trade Commission to protect the privacy of people seeking information on abortion services.

Obviously, reproductive rights advocates will keep their celebrations in check in response to an order like this — it’s not as if anyone is going to say, “Whew, problem solved” — but for those who’ve pushed the White House for a more robust response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, this is certainly a start.

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