- The Biden administration announced new guidelines in an effort to expand access to abortion and other reproductive services.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide abortion care to veterans and family members in certain circumstances, even in states where the procedure is banned.
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will provide over $6 million in grants to fund research that will help improve and expand access to reproductive health care.
The Biden Administration announced Tuesday that it will be introducing new guidelines and grants to expand access to reproductive healthcare services.
At a meeting involving the administration’s reproductive rights task force, President Joe Biden said that the Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to abortion has led to extreme abortion bans and restrictions in many states.
Since the fall of Roe, the task force has been working to identify ways in which the administration could improve access to abortion care.
The administration will boost funding for reproductive health and family planning research and remind universities that they’re legally obligated to protect students from discrimination due to pregnancy or pregnancy termination.
Jessie Hill, JD, a constitutional law professor at Case Western Reserve University specializing in reproductive health rights, says that the allocation of funds and prioritization of agency resources are important steps in the fight to protect abortion access, however, Biden alone won’t be able to solve the attack on abortion rights.
“It will require political and legal action to permanently secure reproductive autonomy for all Americans,” Hill said.
The task force laid out multiple steps to improve and expand access to reproductive health care and reduce health disparities.
First, the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide abortion care to veterans and family members to protect the health or life of the pregnant person in cases of rape or incest, even in states where the procedure is banned.
The Department of Education is also reminding universities that under Title IX they are federally obligated to protect students from discrimination related to pregnancy or pregnancy termination.
The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit in Idaho to protect people’s access to emergency medical care when it includes abortion services.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will provide over $6 million in grants to fund research that will help improve and expand access to reproductive health care and reduce health disparities.
President Biden also said that a national law is needed to protect abortion care services and prevent state lawmakers from banning abortion. But that law is unlikely to happen due to Republican opposition in the Senate.
Republicans in Congress are eyeing a federal ban that would prohibit all Americans in every state from being able to get an abortion if they get into power.
President Biden stressed the importance of voting for lawmakers that support reproductive rights in the midterm elections later this year.
“But right now, we have — we’re short a handful of votes. So the only way it’s going to happen is if the American people make it happen,” Biden said.
Alison Gash, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oregon, says Biden’s intervention is an effort to sound the alarm about the reality of a federal abortion ban.
Anti-choice legislators had made the case that abortion is a states’ rights issue when voicing their opinions over Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“The new effort to ban abortions federally demonstrates how hollow the states’ rights rhetoric really is,” Gash said.
The task force’s actions are also an attempt to invest federal dollars into the remaining states and facilities that still provide access to reproductive choice, Gash added.
The New York Times reported that the administration asked Congress for an additional $400 million to directly help clinics providing abortion care services.
This additional funding would help pro-choice states meet the increased demand of out-of-state patients seeking abortion are services, says Gash.
“This is critically important funding that will surely make a difference for people who struggle to access care,” says Hill.
Biden alone won’t be able to solve the abortion care crisis, and it will require political and legal action to permanently secure reproductive autonomy for all Americans, says Hill.
Gash hopes the task force’s continued work will motivate people to vote for pro-choice candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.
“In the long-term, the hope is that Biden’s continued reminders that access to reproductive choice ultimately rests in the hands of our legislative bodies will encourage people to vote,” Gash said.
On Tuesday. the Biden Administration’s reproductive rights task force announced that it will be introducing new guidelines and grants to expand access to reproductive healthcare services.
The HHS will allocate $6 million in funding to advance research involving reproductive health and remind universities that they’re obligated to protect students from discrimination related to pregnancy or pregnancy termination.