Biden Signs Second Executive Order Protecting Abortion Rights
President Joe Biden signed a second executive order Wednesday aimed at protecting abortion rights, saying Republicans “have no idea” about the power American women have.
The order requires the Department of Health to consider using funds set aside in the state’s Medicaid health insurance program to fund women’s travel to other states where abortions are allowed. Like the first such order signed by Biden in July, the directive is a reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a nationwide constitutional right to abortion.
The order is expected to have limited impact because Republicans, who hold majorities in several state legislatures, are pushing a wave of laws restricting abortion, access to abortion drugs and public funding for such services.
The president signed the order a day after Kansas residents rejected an attempt to remove abortion rights protections from the state constitution. The vote was a victory for the abortion rights movement in the first statewide referendum since the Supreme Court ruling outraged human rights advocates.
“I don’t think the court or the Republican Party has any idea how women are going to respond to this. They have no idea about the power of American women,” Biden said. – They found that out last night in Kansas.”
He called the results of the Kansas referendum a “compelling victory,” adding that voters sent a “powerful message” that makes it clear that politicians should not interfere with basic women’s rights.
“This fight is not over, and we saw that the night before in Kansas,” Biden said. The president said the Supreme Court “provoked women to go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose,” which they had been denied the day before.
It is not yet clear how the goals outlined in the presidential decree can be achieved. Under the Hyde Amendment passed by Congress, Medicaid cannot cover the cost of an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. This calls into question the legitimacy of the president’s claims.
Biden signed the executive order at the first meeting of an interagency working group on access to reproductive health care, which was formed in July. Vice President Kamala Harris, who has traveled to six different states in recent weeks to speak with local lawmakers, joined Biden at the meeting and called the abortion problem “a crisis in American health care.”
According to a Reuters poll, protecting abortion rights is the top issue for Democratic women. More than 70 percent of Americans believe the issue should be left to the woman and her doctor.