August 12, 2022

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Biden’s Second Executive Order on Abortion Supports Interstate Travel

US President Joe Biden signed a second executive order protecting abortion care on Wednesday. The president’s latest executive order will support those who must travel out of state to obtain an abortion. This includes directing Medicaid, the government’s health insurance program for low-income people, to provide funding when such travel is necessary.

The executive order also encourages research on maternal health and seeks to “ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination law.”

“Today’s executive order builds on the first executive order that I signed last month to safeguard access to health care — including abortion care — that was ripped away,” Biden said in a tweet Wednesday. “I told you I wouldn’t back down. That hasn’t changed.”

Biden’s first abortion-related executive order was issued almost a month ago and directed US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to keep FDA-approved abortion pills “as widely accessible as possible” and to protect access to contraceptives. It also ensured emergency medical care for anyone who is pregnant or has had a miscarriage or abortion, and added protection for people’s sensitive health information.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, ending the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide and instead leaving it up to the states to decide on laws to govern this aspect of health care.

The US Justice Department this week filed its first lawsuit against a state to protect the rights of pregnant people to access emergency medical care, including an abortion if necessary. The DOJ complaint alleges Idaho’s incoming near-total abortion ban, which will go into effect on Aug. 25, conflicts with federal law under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

The Justice Department’s Reproductive Rights Task Force said it will continue looking at state abortion bans to ensure they comply with EMTALA.