Biden to issue executive order expanding access to contraceptives

Joe Biden
FILE – President Joe Biden speaks about abortion access during a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre, Oct. 18, 2022, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

Biden to issue executive order expanding access to contraceptives

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President Joe Biden on Friday will issue an executive order strengthening access to contraception and family planning services. This is occurring on the anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The executive order is part of the Biden administration’s “continued commitment” to protecting the “full spectrum of reproductive healthcare,” Jennifer Klein, the director of the White House Gender Policy Council, told reporters.

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Through the order, Biden has instructed the Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury departments to consider new guidance requiring all health insurance companies to cover Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives under Obamacare and “streamline the process for obtaining care women need and want.” These three departments are also instructed to improve access to over-the-counter contraceptives, including emergency contraception, by lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers.

Biden’s order intends to change existing rules in Medicaid, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits to lower out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives.

Klein said in a press briefing on Thursday that the executive order seeks to address the “ensuing crisis in women’s health” in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that declared abortion rights are not constitutionally protected at the federal level.

When asked which state laws restricting contraception concern the administration, Klein responded that the “practical impact of abortion bans” have eliminated “critical points of care” by closing abortion clinics.

According to Klein, a component of the executive order is to “show the priority” of expanding and protecting access to contraception “to our agency partners” and to “increase public awareness” of federal programs that already provide low-cost contraception to low-income women and girls.

In July 2022, Biden issued an executive order adding the “termination of a pregnancy” to the federal definition of “reproductive healthcare services.” In August 2022, Biden issued a second executive order intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or a formal decision to abort a pregnancy.

Friday’s executive order is intended to build on the prior executive orders by giving broader authority to relevant agencies and departments to increase access to traditional and emergency contraception.

“Contraception is not a substitute for abortion care,” Klein said. She said the administration intends to “restore access to all reproductive health services” to pre-Dobbs levels.

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Klein also said that the overturning of Roe has had a “devastating impact not only to rights but also to health.”

Klein said the Biden administration’s official position is to implore Congress to codify Roe v. Wade.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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