2022 feels like a gut punch for women and friends of women as Republicans try to hurl us back to a time we never wanted to revisit. In my state, North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order to protect abortion access. President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Friday to safeguard abortion rights.
Via a statement from the White House:
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated a woman's Constitutional right to choose. This decision expressly took away a right from the American people that it had recognized for nearly 50 years – a woman's right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, free from government interference. Fundamental rights – to privacy, autonomy, freedom, and equality – have been denied to millions of women across the country, with grave implications for their health, lives, and wellbeing. This ruling will disproportionately affect women of color, low-income women, and rural women.
We've been screaming about this, and it appears that the President was listening.
The President has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take the following actions and submit a report to him within 30 days on efforts to:
Protect Access to Medication Abortion. HHS will take additional action to protect and expand access to abortion care, including access to medication that the FDA approved as safe and effective over twenty years ago. These actions will build on the steps the Secretary of HHS has already taken at the President's direction following the decision to ensure that medication abortion is as widely accessible as possible.
Ensure Emergency Medical Care. HHS will take steps to ensure all patients – including pregnant women and those experiencing pregnancy loss – have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law, including by considering updates to current guidance that clarify physician responsibilities and protections under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).
And, of course, Republicans quickly went from banning abortion to seeking to ban contraceptives.
Protect Access to Contraception. HHS will take additional actions to expand access to the full range of reproductive health services, including family planning services and providers, such as access to emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception like intrauterine devices (IUDs). In all fifty states and the District of Columbia, the Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage of women's preventive services, including free birth control and contraceptive counseling, for individuals and covered dependents. The Secretary of HHS has already directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take every legally available step to ensure patient access to family planning care and to protect family planning providers.
It's never been about children. If it were, Republicans wouldn't be focused on banning contraceptives, too. It's about control.