On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order stipulating that his administration would cover travel costs for low-income citizens if they have to travel across state lines to have an abortion.
The Biden administration said they hope to press forward with Medicare costs being used to cover any abortion-related expenses. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s executive order “paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state.”
The bill states that Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra should consider advancing “access to reproductive healthcare services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state for reproductive healthcare services.”
“Secretary Becerra will invite states to apply for Medicaid waivers to allow them to provide reproductive health care to women who live in states where abortions are banned,” Jean-Pierre said. The Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal dollars from being used for abortion, may put a roadblock in this plan. The only exceptions to The Hyde Agreement are rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is at risk. The Biden administration has stated that this bill does not violate Hyde. “This EO will not violate the Hyde Amendment,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is law, and we followed the law here.”
Biden made a statement in which he touted his new executive order. “Today, I’m signing the second executive order that responds to the health care crisis that has unfolded since the Supreme Court overturned Roe [v. Wade] and that women are facing all across America,” he said at a White House event.
Biden said that the order “Advances research and data collection to evaluate the impact of this reproductive health crisis on maternal health” will also safeguard access to contraception. This is something that has been requested by companies such as Planned Parenthood.
At a White House press briefing, Jean-Pierre said the order “will cover care that is otherwise part of Medicaid,” including “abortion care in certain circumstances, as accepted by the Hyde Amendment.” She also called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade an “unconstitutional action.”
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