Health Secretary Javier Becerra said on Tuesday that the federal government would work to ensure access to abortion pills and explore other means to ensure that, following a US Supreme Court ruling overturning the constitutional right to the procedure. Women can terminate their pregnancies.
“Friday’s Supreme Court decision was despicable, but it was also predictable,” Becerra said, adding that his Department of Health and Human Services “has been preparing for it for some time.”
But Becerra also acknowledged that “there is no magic bullet,” and it was unclear how far the federal government could go in providing abortion facilities in states that prohibit it.
“If there’s something we can do, we’ll find it and we’ll do it at HHS,” Becerra said. “Actually, that was the instruction I got from the President of the United States.”
President Biden said the administration is working to make sure abortion medication is available and that women can travel safely from states that ban abortions to states where abortion is legal.
Becerra said that federal law “requires our programs to provide drug abortion in limited circumstances, including in the life of the mother, rape, or incest,” and that “it is imperative that all federally supported programs and services comply with the law.” Compliance and providing.”
Becerra also said that her department is working with the Office of Civil Rights to “ensure patient privacy and support for patients seeking reproductive health care, as well as providers who provide reproductive health care.”
The department is exploring its authority under the Emergency Medical Treatment Act to ensure that the clinical judgment of doctors and hospitals is supported in the treatment of pregnant patients who have suffered pregnancy loss or complications, and “Confirms that abortion care may be appropriate for stabilizing patients.”
Becerra said he has directed the department to work to ensure that doctors, pharmacists and clinics have the appropriate training and resources to handle family planning needs, including administering patient referrals for care and “Helping patients navigate this new reality”.
And he said he has directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to “take every legally available step to protect family planning care, including emergency contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraception, such as the IUD.” Huh.
“Health care is a matter to be decided by patients and their providers, not politicians,” Becerra said. “We will clarify that family planning providers are able to participate in the Medicaid program.”
Becerra was short on specifics, however, and in response to questions from news reporters, acknowledged that the administration is still researching what is possible under the Supreme Court ruling, even though it was essentially a month and a half before its final form. was publicly leaked.
“Once we are able to tell you what we believe we are capable of, what we have the money to do, then every option is on the table,” Becerra said. “It was a long decision and it set a 50-year precedent. You want to make sure that what you do is within the bounds of the law. We have no interest in bullying and doing things just because.”