NEWS: Biden pledges executive orders on abortion. His options are limited.

by | Jun 10, 2022 | Repro Health Watch


Biden Pledges Executive Orders on Abortion. His Options Are Limited.

POLITICO, June 9, 2022

“President Joe Biden says he’s looking at ways to shore up abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks, but the White House has not given specifics and legal experts say there’s little he can do to stop states that want to outlaw the procedure. Biden said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday night that his team is looking at possible executive orders, but avoided specifics. Echoing Democratic congressional leaders, who have tried unsuccessfully to codify Roe’s protections and override state bans, Biden largely focused his remarks on electing more abortion-rights supporters to Congress in the November midterms. “It’s clear that if, in fact, the decision comes down the way it does and these states impose the limitations they’re talking about, it’s going to cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote a lot of these folks out of office,” the president predicted. Yet many Democratic officials and abortion-rights activists fear the party is unlikely to pick up enough seats in the midterms to pass comprehensive abortion-rights legislation. And even if it can, many fear that waiting until a new Congress is seated in January will be too late to prevent the harm they expect if tens of millions of people lose access to abortion. While Biden has few options to preserve abortion access in states determined to restrict it, there are actions his administration can take to bolster reproductive health rights, including making it easier to obtain abortion medication, protecting patient privacy and making sure more people can afford and access contraception, according to lawmakers and abortion-rights groups.”

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Florida Could Be a Critical Access Point for Abortion, But the State’s Own Battle Is Just Starting

The 19th, June 8, 2022

“Miller never asks his patients why they come to his office, but sometimes they tell him anyway. They just need to say it out loud…Miller, a 75-year-old OB/GYN, sees patients two to three days a week here at A Woman’s Choice, the abortion clinic where he’s worked since 2001. He’s the only doctor at this clinic who provides abortions all the way up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, a medical service that is currently legal in most of the country but that, due to stigma and the threats of violence against physicians, fewer and fewer doctors provide. Anti-abortion protesters have picketed his house. After Miller’s wife died, a deliveryman once asked him if it was punishment for the work Miller does. But as a physician, he says, this is his duty. “People want to judge me because I do abortions, and they’re talking about morality. But as far as I’m concerned, morality cannot be legislated,” he said. “I look at every patient as someone who has a problem or a concern or a reason that, if I can help, that’s what I’m going to do.” On July 1, Florida will begin enforcing a law banning abortions for people past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ban, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, has been framed by its backers as a “moderate” compromise. The vast majority of abortions take place within the first trimester, which ends at 12 weeks, they note. The law is less stringent than the six-week bans and total prohibitions being passed across the country in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion, later this summer. Still, the 15-week ban, which has no medical rationale as a particular endpoint for access, represents a tremendous shift in Florida. The ripple effects could extend far outside of the state’s borders.”

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New York Passes Legislation to Create Abortion Sanctuary

Pew Charitable Trusts, June 6, 2022

“With weeks to go before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision ensuring the right to abortion, New York is the latest blue state to pass new laws in anticipation of an influx of patients from states poised to ban the procedure. New York lawmakers passed a package of bills, which Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has said she will sign, that would establish the state as a haven for people who want access to abortion, whether they live in the state or not. But lawmakers stopped short of passing a proposed equal rights amendment to the state’s constitution that would guarantee a right to abortion. So far, Vermont is the only state whose legislature has passed a proposed constitutional right to abortion, which will be on the ballot in November. New York’s 2022 legislative session ended last week. “This legislation will protect reproductive health care providers in New York from states looking to impose their policies on New Yorkers and punish providers beyond their borders,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said in a June 2 statement. In addition to ensuring certain legal protections for abortion providers and preventing law enforcement from cooperating with out-of-state agencies, the legislation would prohibit medical malpractice insurance companies from taking adverse actions against providers who care for nonresidents. To address potential violence against abortion providers and others, the legislation would allow health professionals and their family members, volunteers and patients to participate in the state’s Address Confidentiality Program.”

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Google Misdirects One in 10 Searches for Abortion to ‘Pregnancy Crisis Centers’

The Guardian, June 9, 2022

“One in 10 Google searches for abortion services in US “trigger states”, where the procedure is likely to become illegal if the US supreme court overturns Roe v Wade, are being misdirected to clinics known as “pregnancy crisis centers” that do not actually provide care, according to a new study. After a leak revealed the US supreme court is on the verge of overturning the landmark abortion rights law Roe v Wade, attention has turned to “trigger law” states that would ban abortion immediately if the decades-old decision is undone. In more than a dozen such trigger-law states, researchers found, 11% of Google search results for “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill” led to “crisis pregnancy centers”, according to misinformation research non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). These clinics market themselves as healthcare providers but have a “shady, harmful agenda”, according to the reproductive health non-profit Planned Parenthood, offering no health services and aiming instead to dissuade people from having abortions. Such centers now outnumber real abortion clinics three to one, with approximately 2,600 operating in the US, according to a study by the Alliance, a coalition of state advocates for women’s rights and gender equality. “Anti-abortion fake clinics are the conversion ‘therapy’ wing of an anti-abortion movement that is hell-bent on sending people to jail for abortion, miscarriage and pregnancy,” said Erin Matson, co-founder and executive director of pro-choice organization Reproaction. Researchers in the study used location-altering tools to study 13 trigger-law states including Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Tennessee and Missouri and found 37% of Google Maps searches led to fake clinics.”

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‘At-Home Abortion Pill Startups Gain Interest and Funding as Laws Increasingly Target Access

CNN, June 9, 2022

“As the future of safe, legal abortion access in the United States has been thrust into doubt, a number of at-home abortion pill startups are positioning themselves to fill some of the void. Sites such as Choix, Hey Jane and Just the Pill have launched in recent years to offer women in a limited number of states abortion prescriptions via telemedicine and delivered by mail. Thanks to the easing of regulations at the federal level, these startups say their services can cut travel time, in-office wait periods and costs. However, they still face significant regulations and — increasingly — a shifting legislative environment as they seek to grow. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, the so-called abortion pill — which involves taking two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol — now accounts for over half of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. Though initially restricted from mail delivery, mifepristone was approved by the FDA for online pharmacy prescription and delivery at the onset of the pandemic, a decision that has since been made permanent. (Misoprostol, also used to prevent ulcers, has long been available with a prescription.) This regulatory change opened the door to companies that hope to cater to abortion-seekers who either reside in states that allow telehealth abortion care or who travel from their access-restricted home states. While there is no residency or state ID requirements for abortion care, Choix requires patients to have a shipping address within one of the states it serves. Hey Jane requires patients to be within the accessible state for both consult and treatment.”

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Note: The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.