Washington : President Joe Biden accused the country’s Supreme Court and Republicans of being clueless about the power of American women after he signed a second executive order aimed at protecting abortion rights, Khaleej Times reported on Thrusday.
The executive order asks the federal health department to consider allowing Medicaid funds to be used to help facilitate out of state travel for abortions for women who cannot afford it in their state where it is banned. Like Biden’s first order signed in July, it is meant to address the recent Supreme Court decision to end the nationwide constitutional right to abortion.
However, this new order is expected to have limited impact, as Republicans across US states push a wave of laws restricting abortion, access to medication and funding for such services.
The president’s actions come a day after Kansas voters rejected one such effort, to remove abortion protections from the state’s constitution. The vote was a resounding win for the abortion rights movement in the first statewide electoral test since the Supreme Court ruling.
Biden called the Kansas result a “decisive victory” and said voters in the state sent a “powerful signal” that makes clear politicians should not interfere with the fundamental rights of women.
His first order in early July directed the federal government’s health department to expand access to medication abortion and ensure that women who travel for abortions are protected and his latest action builds on those measures, while remaining vague about how those goals can be achieved. It asks the Health and Human Services Department to consider using funds including Medicaid, the federal and state funded insurance program it oversees, to support low-income women traveling out-of-state for abortion services, a senior administration official said.
It calls on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider inviting states to apply for Medicaid waivers when treating patients who cross state lines for reproductive health services, the official said, without giving additional details.
The Hyde Amendment, a Congressional measure, states that Medicaid will not pay for an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, making the effectiveness of the order uncertain.
It also directs the department to ensure health-care providers comply with federal non-discrimination laws when offering such services and orders it to collect data to measure the impact of the ruling on maternal health, the official added.