President Joe Biden On Wednesday, he will sign an executive order aimed in part at making it easier for women seeking interstate abortion to travel to access the procedure.
More specifically, one of the directives that Biden will issue will allow states that have not banned abortion to apply for certain Medicaid exemptions that would, in effect, help them treat women who have traveled from out of state.
The order would also require health care providers to comply with federal nondiscrimination laws and simplify the process of collecting basic data and information about maternal health at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Details were described by senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the executive order ahead of a formal announcement.
Biden continues to isolate himself in the White House
Officials said Biden, who continues to isolate at the White House after a rebound case of COVID-19, will sign the executive order as he helps launch a federal task force on access to reproductive care, led by Vice President Kamala Harris.
However, the new order falls short of what many Democratic lawmakers and abortion advocacy groups have demanded of the Biden administration since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade. One of the key questions was for Biden to declare a public health emergency over abortion, which White House officials said would do little to free up federal resources or activate new legal powers.
Wednesday’s order is the latest in a series of executive actions the Biden administration has taken since the repeal of the constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health case in June.
Separately, the Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Idaho over its statute criminalizing abortions, with the attorney general Merrick Garland Arguing that it violates federal law.