President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order to safeguard access to medication abortion and other reproductive health care services following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade.
“Eliminating the right recognized in Roe has already had and will continue to have devastating implications for women’s health and public health more broadly,” the order states. “In the face of this health crisis, the federal government is taking action to protect health care service delivery and promote access to critical reproductive health care services, including abortion.”
A White House fact sheet states that HHS will take further action to “ensure that medication abortion is as widely accessible as possible.”
The agency also will act to preserve access to emergency medical care for women who are pregnant or experience a miscarriage, and will consider updates to current guidance that specify protections and responsibilities of physicians under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, the fact sheet states.
Other components of the order include protection and expansion of access to emergency contraception and intrauterine devices; increased outreach and public education initiatives; protection of patients’ privacy and ability to access accurate information; promotion of the safety and security of patients, providers and clinics; and creation of an interagency task force to coordinate policymaking and program development.
In addition the Attorney General and White House counsel will convene volunteer attorneys “to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country,” the order states. “Such representation could include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care.”