Biden Set to Sign Executive Order to Cover Costs of Women Traveling for Abortions

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday to assist cover expenses for women traveling for abortions.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, Biden has instructed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to push states to create regulations that would allow their state Medicaid programs to cover some of the expenses associated with women traveling to places where abortions are still permitted.

The Biden administration, in a report quoting an unnamed senior administration official, has thought about issuing a public health emergency to protect access to the abortion pill, but it is concerned that doing so could expose doctors to legal action in states that have outlawed the operation.

The White House has not yet used such capabilities because officials were concerned that they may not be sufficient to ultimately protect doctors and women.

According to the legislation, anyone who manufactures or administers a medicine that is required to address a public health emergency is entitled to legal protections. 

The Secretary of HHS has this authority. 

In March 2020, the authority was widely utilized to safeguard Covid-19 vaccine producers, test producers, and pharmaceutical firms like Pfizer that produced Paxlovid, an antiviral medicine. 

Additionally, it safeguarded the doctors who gave the injections and examinations.

Mifepristone, an abortion medication, may be listed by HHS Secretary Becerra as a medication required to avert a health emergency brought on by restricted access to abortions. 

Theoretically, this would nullify state laws that forbid abortions and make mifepristone available to women in those places, making it possible for them to abort their unborn children as early as possible.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe, many states have outlawed abortion. v. Wade has also prohibited doctors from prescribing medications to end pregnancies, which would include mifepristone. 

The majority of state laws make having an abortion illegal and subject to lengthy prison terms.

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