Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden will take executive action Friday to protect abortion access, according to three people familiar with the matter, as he faces mounting pressure from Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right. On the procedure two weeks ago.
Biden will speak Friday morning about “protecting access to reproductive health care services,” the sources said. The measures he was expected to outline are intended to try to mitigate some of the potential penalties that women seeking abortions might face after the ruling, but are limited in their ability to protect access to abortion nationwide. Biden is expected to formalize instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to respond to efforts to limit women’s ability to access federally approved abortion medications or travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services. People spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Biden’s actions before it was officially announced.
Biden’s executive order would also direct agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurance companies about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities — in an effort to protect women who seek or benefit from abortion services. It will also require the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to protect the privacy of those who seek information about reproductive care online.
The order, two weeks after the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling that ended the right to abortion nationwide and left it up to states to decide whether or how to allow the procedure, comes as Biden has faced criticism from some in his party for not acting. with greater urgency to protect women’s access to abortion. Overturned the decision in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, landmark 1973 court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade.
Since the ruling, Biden has stressed that his ability to protect abortion rights through executive action is limited without congressional action.
“Ultimately, Congress will have to work to codify Rowe into a federal law,” Biden said last week during a virtual meeting with Democratic governors.
The DOJ and HHS mandate is expected to prompt agencies to fight in court to protect women, but gives no guarantees that the justice system will take their side against potential prosecution by states that have moved to ban abortion.
By SUNG MIN KIM and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press