Joe Biden signs an executive order.

Biden Signs a Second Executive Order Protecting Abortion Against Further Attacks

President Joe Biden has signed another executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion on a federal level.

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In July, Biden signed an EO that tasked a number of different federal agencies with coming up with plans to protect abortion. Just few days later, the Department of Health and Human Services declared that emergency abortions are included in existing federal protections guaranteeing access to emergency medical care, and a few weeks after that, the Justice Department announced it was suing the state of Idaho for violating that rule.

Biden’s new executive order aims to support patients traveling out of state for abortions. Multiple Republican lawmakers have been proposing terrifyingly dystopian bans on interstate travel for abortions. Biden’s EO proposes using Medicaid—a federal program—to help people access abortion in other states.

The order also addresses the recent crisis of patients being denied prescription medications for issues and illnesses unrelated to abortion because pharmacists and other medical professionals fear the medications could potentially be used as “abortifacients.” Patients with lupus, cancer, ulcers, and more have reported being denied access to their necessary medications because of a potential unrelated side effect that doesn’t even affect them.

Biden’s order suggests that this could be a violation of federal non-discrimination laws. He asks the HHS to “ensure that individuals are not denied necessary healthcare on the basis of any ground protected by Federal law, including current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, or other medical conditions.”

It’s still so upsetting that we’ve ended up here, but it’s heartening to see specific actions being taken to protect access to abortion, and to address the extensive ramifications of throwing wide-ranging forms of healthcare into legal uncertainty for exactly zero benefit.

(featured image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.