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Biden signs a second executive order protecting abortion access after Roe v. Wade's fall

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/3/2022 oseddiq@insider.com (Oma Seddiq,Kayla Gallagher)
President Joe Biden. JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images © JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden. JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Biden signed his second executive order on Wednesday aimed at protecting abortion access.
  • The order seeks to protect patients traveling out of state to get an abortion where it's still legal.
  • The action is in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed his second executive order aimed at protecting abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.

Biden's executive order instructs the Human and Health Services Department to support patients who will travel out of state to get an abortion where it's still legal, according to a White House fact sheet. 

The order directs HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra "to consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state for reproductive healthcare services."

It also asks Becerra to ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination laws and to improve data collection and research on maternal health outcomes.


Video: Biden to sign executive order protecting access to abortion (TODAY)

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The action builds on another executive order that Biden signed on July 8, which focused on expanding access to federally approved abortion medication, ensuring emergency care for pregnant women, and protecting patient's digital and medical privacy rights.

"The opinion of the Dobbs case, the extreme majority of the Supreme Court wrote, this is a quote from that case, 'Women are not without electoral of political power,' unquote. The Court practically dared women to go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose," Biden said before signing the order.

After Roe v. Wade's fall, the White House and congressional Democrats have repeatedly called on voters to elect more abortion-rights supporters to Congress this November. Attempts to codify Roe v. Wade have failed because of Democrats' limited majority in the Senate and widespread Republican opposition. 

"Ultimately, Congress must codify the protections of Roe as federal law," Biden said. "If Congress fails to act, the people of this country need to elect senators and representatives who will restore Roe and will protect the right to privacy, freedom and equality."

The Supreme Court's monumental ruling has caused a slew of Republican-led states to ban or limit abortion, with more restrictions to come. Court battles over abortion have been playing out at the state-level since the decision came down.

Seemingly frustrated, Biden said Republicans "don't have a clue about the power of American women." The president said it was "hard for him to understand Republican pushback because a "healthcare crisis is women can't choose."

On Tuesday, voters in red-leaning Kansas rejected a measure that would have established no right to abortion under the state's constitution. 

"The people of Kansas spoke and said this is a matter of defense of basic principles of liberty and freedom in America," Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday at the first meeting of an Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access. "They said government should not be mandating those decisions for the women of America."

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