Abortion & Reproductive Care

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade has given state legislatures enormous power to determine reproductive rights. In response, Democrats, President Biden, VP Harris, and federal agencies have taken substantive action to protect the right to abortion, medical care, contraception and privacy.

 

What Have the Biden-Harris Administration and Dems Done?

 

  • Confirmed a record 84 pro-choice federal judges.
  • Passed a bill in the House to codify Roe. (Defeated by Senate Republicans.)
  • Passed a bill in the House to protect the right to interstate travel by anyone seeking a lawful abortion. (Defeated by Senate Republicans.)
  • Ensured access to emergency medical care for all patients – including pregnant individuals and those experiencing pregnancy loss.
  • Guaranteed leave for federal workers traveling for medical care.
  • Protected Americans’ right to travel to obtain medical care through DOJ enforcement actions.
  • Protected and expanded access to medications for reproductive care including to medicated abortion by allowing abortion pills to be mailed to individuals.
  • Protected access to contraception via the Affordable Care Act which guarantees coverage of reproductive and preventative health care services, including free birth control and contraceptive counseling.
  • Provided increased protection for patients, providers and clinics including protecting mobile clinics.
  • Provided training and resources to clinics and providers.
  • Protected consumers’ privacy from privacy violations and deceptive practices.
  • Protected sensitive health information.
  • Partnered with legal, privacy and technology experts to increase abortion access.
  • Established an Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access led by AG Garland.
  • Provided nationwide access to accurate information about reproductive care via ReproductiveRights.gov.
  • Partnered with volunteer reproductive rights lawyers to ensure abortion access.
  • Protected access to reproductive care for service members, DoD employees, and military families.
  • Expanded Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months postpartum.
  • Getting out the vote because that’s the best way to ensure access to lawful abortions. Just look at ruby-red Kansas in 2022. Voter turnout doubled from previous primaries and voters successfully blocked the legislature from removing the right to abortion from the state’s constitution by 59% to 41%. But this did not just happen because people were mad; there was a massive GOTV effort to get young women registered to vote and to connect with all pro-choice voters. Even 20% of Republican voters joined Democrats! If Democrats have just two more Senators and hold the House, Roe will be codified and abortion legal in every state.

What Have the Biden-Harris Administration and Dems Done?

  • Confirmed a record 84 pro-choice federal judges. Over 70% of the judges are women and over 65% of the judges are BIPOC.
  • Passed a bill to codify Roe v. Wade. House Democrats passed a bill in the House to codify Roe. (Blocked by Senate Republicans.)
  • Passed a bill to protect the right to interstate travel by people seeking an lawful abortion. (Blocked by Senate Republicans.)
  • Ensured access to emergency medical care. HHS has taken steps to ensure all patients – including pregnant individuals and those experiencing pregnancy loss – have access to the full rights and protections of emergency medical care.
  • Guaranteed leave for federal workers traveling for medical care.
  • Protected Americans’ right to travel to obtain medical care through DOJ enforcement. The Department of Justice (DOJ) will take enforcement action against states that block people from traveling safely to other states to seek reproductive care where abortion is legal. On August 4th, the DOJ filed the first post-Dobbs lawsuit against the state of Idaho, challenging its law that would make it a felony to perform an abortion in all but extremely narrow circumstances.
  • Protected and expanding access to medications for reproductive care including medicated abortion. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken action to protect access to critical medications for reproductive care, including medication used for medicated abortions. The FDA now allows abortion pills to be mailed to individuals.
  • Protected access to contraception. HHS has taken action to protect access to medical contraception. The Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage of reproductive and preventative health care services, including free birth control and contraceptive counseling.
  • Provided increased protection for patients, providers and clinics. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to protect the safety of patients and providers of reproductive health care services, including protecting mobile clinics which have been deployed to offer care to patients in states that have banned abortion.
  • Provided training and resources to clinics and providers. HHS directed all HHS agencies to ensure that all HHS-funded providers and clinics have appropriate training and resources to handle family planning needs, and announced additional new funding to bolster training and technical assistance for the nationwide network of Title X family planning providers. (Under Trump, HHS made significant changes which reduced the Title X network of providers and the number of low-income and uninsured clients served by the program.)
  • Protected consumers’ privacy from privacy violations and deceptive practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is evaluating steps to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about, and provision of reproductive health care services in response to concerns that states will use digital data (period tracking applications, internet search history, text messages) to prosecute individuals who seek an abortion.
  • Protected sensitive health information. HHS is taking action to protect sensitive information related to reproductive healthcare under HIPAA. HHS’ Office for Civil Rights is also taking steps to ensure the privacy of, and nondiscrimination against, patients and providers of reproductive health care.
  • Partnered with legal, privacy and technology experts to increase abortion access. Even before the Dobbs decision was issued, VP Harris began working with constitutional law, privacy and technology experts to anticipate the ramifications and actions needed if Roe was overturned. She then began meeting weekly with pro-choice advocates, state governors and attorney generals to mobilize and defend reproductive rights.
  • Established an Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access. The Task Force will be responsible for coordinating federal interagency policy-making and program development, and will be led by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
  • Provided nationwide access to accurate information about reproductive care. HHS launched ReproductiveRights.gov, which provides timely and accurate information about reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care.
  • Partnered with volunteer reproductive rights lawyers to ensure abortion access. The Attorney General and the White House Counsel have partnered with private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to ensure legal representation of patients and providers.
  • Protected access to reproductive care for service members, DoD employees, and military families. The Department of Defense (DoD) is ensuring access to reproductive health care services for DoD employees and military families. Military healthcare providers will continue to fulfill their duty to care for service members, military dependents and civilian personnel who require pregnancy termination in the cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.
    • Note: The Hyde amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Biden previously advocated for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
  • Expanded Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) postpartum care. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) allows states to increase pregnancy-related Medicaid and CHIP coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. To date, over 250K people have gained coverage through these Medicaid postpartum extensions.
  • Getting out the vote because that’s the best way to ensure access to lawful abortions. The resounding defeat of the GOP’s effort to ban abortion in ruby-red Kansas was the result of a massive voter registration and get-out-the-vote effort which doubled voter turnout! This win made clear that abortion is a critical rallying point for Dems, Independents and even 20% of Republicans (90K Republicans voted against the GOP). VP Harris has been working in red, blue, and purple states to increase voter turnout to drive home the message that the way to stop the Republicans’ assault on freedom, bodily autonomy and reproductive choice is to elect Democrats in the midterms.

Why didn’t Democrats codify earlier? Roe v. Wade was the law of the land for nearly 50 years and every Supreme Court nominee explicitly stated in their confirmation hearings that they would uphold Roe. In Congress, there have never been enough votes to codify Roe. Obama only had a Dem supermajority for 24 non-consecutive working days during 2009-10 – during which time he and Democrats passed the historic Affordable Care Act and rescued the economy. Further, relatively low voter turnout in every election between 2000 to the present have allowed Republicans to consolidate sufficient power in state and federal legislatures, governorships and SCOTUS to overturn Roe and ban or severely restrict abortion access. Indeed, for the majority of voters, codifying Roe has not been a priority until now. This was most evident in 2016 when Hillary Clinton and others warned voters that Roe would be overturned if Trump won.

LAST UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2022