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US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to help women cross state lines for abortion services.
The executive order is the second after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to trial.
Biden’s order orders the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to consider Medicaid funding for overseas travel for abortions.
Last month, the president signed the first executive order to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision.
The order also instructs the HHS to ensure that health care workers comply with federal anti-discrimination laws so that women can receive necessary medical care as quickly as possible.
Biden’s order is expected to have limited impact as Republicans lead a wave of national legislation that restricts abortion, access to drugs, and financing of similar services.
What led to the order?
On Tuesday, Kansas voters vehemently opposed an election measure that would have removed language protecting abortion rights from the state constitution.
The vote was a landslide victory for the abortion rights movement in the first national electoral test since the Supreme Court ruling.
Kansas is surrounded by states following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including Oklahoma and Missouri.
As a result, Kansas has become a destination for out-of-state women seeking access to abortion treatment.
President Joe Biden continued his COVID isolation while talking virtually with his new task force on access to reproductive health care.
During the phone call, Biden called access to state abortion a “health crisis” and warned that Republicans want to ban the procedure nationwide.
“I don’t think the court has any notion for that matter or the Republican party for that matter… how women are going to respond,” said Biden on Wednesday.
“They don’t have a clue about the power of American women. Last night in Kansas, they found out.”
Biden also called the Kansas result a “decisive victory” and said voters sent a “strong signal” that politicians did not have the right to interfere with women’s human rights.
“This fight is not over, and we saw that last night in Kansas,” said Biden.
“The court practically dared women in this country to go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose.”
Based on the measurements
In early July, Biden issued his first executive order, instructing the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to medical abortion to protect women who travel to abort.
The president’s latest order is based on measurements. But as with the first order, it is unclear how it can be achieved.
According to a senior administration official, the second order prompts the Department of Health and Human Services to consider using funds like Medicaid to support low-income women traveling abroad for abortion services.
It also calls on Xavier Becerra of Health and Human Services to urge states to seek Medicaid exemption when treating patients traveling for reproductive health services.
The Hyde Amendment
The Hyde Amendment’s congressional measure stipulates that Medicaid will not pay for abortion.
The only exception is when the woman’s life is in danger, or the pregnancy is due to rape or incest.
It also directs the department to ensure that healthcare professionals comply with federal non-discrimination laws when providing such services.
The provision also provides for data collection to measure the sentence’s impact on maternal health.
Biden and Kamala Harris
President Joe Biden signed the executive order at the first meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Access to Reproductive Health Care.
Vice President Kamala Harris joined him in the meeting, calling the abortion issue “America’s public health crisis.”
Senate Democrats have rejected Biden’s request to repeal the House’s “filibuster” rule, which requires 60 out of 100 senators to agree on most laws so that anyone can pass a law that officially points out that abortion is a national right.
Kamala Harris can cast a casting vote in an equally divided Senate.
Biden signs executive order aimed at helping women travel for abortion
Biden signs abortion order, says Republicans clueless about women’s power