President Biden will issue an Executive Order on Securing Access to Reproductive Health and Other Services, building on the steps the Biden-Harris administration has taken to protect access to reproductive health services and defend rights. fundamental rights of women. The president kicks off the first meeting of the vice-president of the working group on access to reproductive health care. During the meeting, the Cabinet will discuss their progress and the way forward to address the women’s health crisis following the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
EXECUTIVE DECREE ON SECURING ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES AND OTHER HEALTH SERVICES
Through today’s Executive Order, the President will announce actions to:
- Support patients traveling out of state for medical care. The executive order directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider steps to advance access to reproductive health services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state for reproductive health services. This directive is consistent with clear statements by the President and Attorney General on the administration’s commitment to upholding the fundamental right to cross state lines to seek reproductive health care in states where such services remain legal.
- Ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination law. The executive order directs the Secretary of HHS to consider all appropriate measures to ensure that health care providers comply with federal nondiscrimination laws so that women receive medically necessary care without delay. These actions could include providing technical assistance to healthcare providers who may be confused or unsure of their obligations as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs; summon service providers to inform them of their obligations and the potential consequences in the event of non-compliance; and issuing additional guidance or taking other appropriate action in response to any complaints or reports of noncompliance with federal nondiscrimination laws.
- Promote research and data collection on maternal health outcomes. To accurately measure the impact that declining access to reproductive health care services is having on women’s health, the executive order directs the Secretary of HHS to evaluate and improve efforts to research, collect data and data analysis at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on maternal health and other health outcomes.
INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP ON ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE
The president will sign the decree during the first meeting of the interagency working group on access to reproductive health care. After the signing of the presidential decree, the chiefs of staff will report on the progress they have made in implementing the presidential decree of July 8, 2022 on the protection of access to reproductive health services, as well as related actions. to defend reproductive rights.
Established by executive order, the Reproductive Health Care Access Task Force is co-chaired by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein. . The task force coordinates and leads efforts across the federal government to protect access to reproductive health services and uphold reproductive rights.
Offices across the White House – including the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Legal Counsel, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Office of Science and Technology Policy – also serve on the working group alongside the following federal agencies:
- Department of Health and Social Services
- defense department
- Department of Education
- Department of Homeland Security
- justice department
- Ministry of Labour
- Treasury Department
- transport department
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Federal Communications Commission
- Federal Trade Commission
- Office of Management and Budget
- Personnel Management Office
TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTS BUILD ON ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS TO PROTECT ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE
Today’s announcements build on steps the Biden-Harris administration has already taken to protect access to health care, including abortion and contraception, following the decision of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
President Biden continues to call on Congress to codify the right to abortion into federal law and has said he would favor changing the filibuster rules to codify Roe vs. Wade in the law. The White House has also issued administrative policy statements supporting HR 8296 – Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 and HR 8297 – Abortion Access Guarantee Act of 2022.
The administration also took immediate action to:
- Protect access to reproductive health services: The president issued an executive order outlining actions to ensure access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception; protect patient privacy and access to accurate information; promote the safety and security of patients, providers and clinics; and coordinate the implementation of federal efforts.
- Defend the right to travel: On 6/24/22, President Biden reaffirmed the Attorney General’s statement that women should remain free to travel safely to another state to get the care they need. President Biden has committed his administration to defending “this fundamental right”. Today’s actions build on that commitment and urge HHS to seek supports for women who travel out of state for treatment.
- Protect emergency medical care: The DOJ has filed a lawsuit seeking an Idaho abortion ban, which makes abortion a crime even when necessary to prevent serious health risks to pregnant patients. The lawsuit says the Idaho law conflicts with the Emtala (Emergency Medical Treatment Active Labor Act) law that requires providers to offer stabilizing treatment, including abortion services if needed, in certain life-threatening situations. emergency. This litigation follows guidelines issued by HHS confirming the EMTALA requirements, as well as a letter from Secretary Becerra to providers making it clear that federal law prevails over state law restricting access to abortion. in emergency situations.
- Strengthen non-discrimination in health care. HHS announced a proposed rule aimed at strengthening non-discrimination in health care. The proposed rule implements Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and affirms protections consistent with President Biden’s executive orders on nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Issue guidelines to retail pharmacies. HHS issued guidelines to approximately 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies reminding them of their obligations under federal civil rights laws to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care services. The guidelines make it clear that as recipients of federal financial assistance, pharmacies are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability in their programs and activities. This includes providing medication; make decisions regarding the suitability of a prescribed medication for a patient; and counseling patients on medications and how to take them.
- Take action against the illegal use and sharing of sensitive data. The Federal Trade Commission is committed to full enforcement of the law against the unlawful use and sharing of highly sensitive data, including location and health information contained in fertility and period tracking data. The FTC has urged companies to consider that sensitive data is protected by many state and federal laws, claims that data is “anonymous” are often misleading, and the FTC has a track record of cracking down on companies that misuse consumer data.
- Protect patient privacy under HIPAA. HHS has issued guidance on how the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of individuals’ protected health information, including information related to reproductive health care. The guidelines help ensure that doctors and other medical providers and health plans know that, with few exceptions, they are not required – and in many cases are not allowed – to disclose patients’ private information. , including law enforcement. HHS also released a practical guide for consumers on steps they can take to ensure they are protecting their personal data on mobile apps.
- Request data privacy information from mobile phone providers. The chair of the Federal Communications Commission has written to the 15 major wireless carriers requesting information about their data retention and privacy policies and general practices, consistent with the president’s commitment to protecting the privacy of Americans.
- Launch a DOJ Reproductive Rights Task Force: The DOJ announced a Reproductive Rights Task Force, which will monitor and assess state and local actions that violate federal protections for providing or continuing reproductive care, harm women’s ability to seek reproductive care where legal, interfere with individuals’ ability to inform and advise each other about reproductive care available in other states, prohibit medical abortion, or impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide lawful services of reproductive health.
- Summon lawyers to defend reproductive rights. The Department of Justice and the White House Office of Legal Counsel brought together more than 200 lawyers and attorneys from private law firms, law societies, legal aid organizations, reproductive rights groups and schools of right across the country on Friday, July 29 for the first convocation of pro-bono lawyers, as required by executive order. The meeting ended with a call to action from the Second Gentleman, urging companies to dedicate at least 500 hours to advocating for reproductive rights and justice.
- Provide access to accurate information and legal resources. HHS launched ReproductiveRights.gov, a website about people’s right to access reproductive health care, including birth control, abortion services, other preventative health services, and health insurance coverage . The DOJ has also launched justice.gov/reproductive-rights, a webpage that provides a centralized online resource on the Department’s work to protect access to reproductive health services.