Biden signs executive order to protect abortion travel

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order partly aimed at making it easier for women seeking an abortion to travel interstate to access the procedure.

In particular, one of the directives Biden will issue would allow states that have not banned abortion to apply for certain Medicaid waivers that will, in effect, help them treat out-of-state women.

The order also calls on health care providers to comply with federal non-discrimination laws and streamline the collection of key maternal health data and information from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The details were described by senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before the official announcement.

Biden called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling “a health crisis” a “health crisis”. Rowe vs. Wadeand “every part of the federal government is doing its part at this critical time when women’s health and lives are at stake.”

The order was issued the day after Kansas voters defended abortion rights in the conservative state, a result Biden hailed.

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Biden signed the order from the White House residence, where he continues to self-isolate with a relapse of the COVID-19 case. He participated virtually in a meeting chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Honestly, I would love to be with you in person,” Biden said. “But I’m going there.”

However, the new order falls short of what many Democratic lawmakers and pro-abortion groups have been demanding of the Biden administration. One of Biden’s top requests was to declare a public health emergency over abortion, which White House officials said would do little to free up federal resources or galvanize new legal powers.

The order, passed on Wednesday, is the latest in a series of executive actions by the Biden administration since the constitutional right to abortion was struck down in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization in June.

Separately on Tuesday, the Department of Justice sued Idaho because of his statute criminalizing abortion, and Attorney General Merrick Garland alleges that he is violating federal law.

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Near the end of Biden’s speech, he once again urged Congress to pass Roe v. Wade legislation.

“If Congress does not act, the people of this country must elect senators and representatives who will restore Roe and protect the right to privacy, liberty and equality.”

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