With continuous restrictions and bans on abortion across the country, the need to travel for abortion care has risen astronomically. Additionally, certain states have tried to further restrict access to reproductive healthcare by hindering cross-state traveling for abortions in any way they can. To combat these restrictions, President Biden has signed an Executive Order tasking officials to protect the ability to travel across states for abortion care in different ways. He signed this at the first meeting of the Biden-Harris Administration’s new Reproductive Rights Task Force, composed of representatives from departments and offices across the white house and led by Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. The Executive order is the second one issued by President Biden since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and specifically aids the ability to travel to obtain abortion care and how health officials can help women in these situations.
The first part of the order helps ensure that women and pregnant people are able to travel across states to get abortions by instructing that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “consider” ways to help women who travel for abortion care and consider” utilizing Medicaid funding for care. The order also directs the HHS to ensure healthcare workers abide by federal anti-discrimination laws to ensure women do not have delayed medical care. It also directs the department to help health officials navigate legal obligations and restrictions with regard to abortion care. President Biden also included that the HHS should “study” the abortion crisis across the country and collect data, as well as assess the viability and accuracy of previously collected data, to further understand and assess what is needed and what can be done for reproductive healthcare.