HHS launches website in wake of Supreme Court abortion decision
The ministry will “work with the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to ensure states don’t ban abortion with drugs,” he told reporters, following a statement by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday.
But Becerra’s announcement Tuesday may not be enough to quell criticism from abortion advocates and progressives who argue that the Biden administration has done little to prepare for the fall of roe even after POLITICO’s report on the draft opinion in May. Congressional Democrats are publicly urging the president for more aggressive tactics to protect abortion rights.
In the days since the Supreme Court decision allowed states to regulate abortion, 11 have banned or significantly restricted the procedure. Eight others could soon follow.
Many of the laws prohibit abortion unless the pregnant person’s life is in danger, which abortion advocates say can be difficult and take time to prove. This could further endanger the parent’s life. Others ban abortion after six weeks.
Abortion advocates have called on the Biden administration to ensure access to abortion pills and protect personal medical information as people from states that have criminalized the procedure want to have abortions.
President Joe Biden said Friday he had instructed Becerra to “take steps to ensure that these critical drugs are as fully available as possible.”
However, legal experts and abortion rights advocates say there are many other ways to restrict access to the pills, including postal and pharmacy restrictions or by criminalizing possession. The pill, mifepristone, is also FDA-approved only up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
It’s also unclear how the Biden administration will improve access to the pills. Asked at a news conference whether HHS would instruct the FDA to accelerate certifications for pharmacies that dispense mifepristone, Becerra said he was working with the FDA “to ensure they have every opportunity to continue providing Americans with access to safe and effective treatments.” ”
Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who specializes in public health, called on the FDA to make it clear that its scientific review of the abortion drugs trumps any state action restricting their use, “and states should not choose what FDA-approved drugs it will or won’t allow.”
But Becerra did not specify Tuesday what actions the agency could take.
“Patients must have access to medications that are safe and effective for their FDA-approved uses,” the FDA said Friday in an email statement not attributed to a specific agency official. “In this area, as in all other areas that the FDA regulates, the best available science will continue to guide the Agency’s decision-making.”
Lawmakers condemn lack of urgency
Meanwhile, some progressive Democrats in Congress don’t seem to be swayed by new rounds of fundraising, propelled by the decision of the Supreme Court, the Democratic National Committee and party leadership, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosic†
“If you are a legislator who in the time between the leak [and] ruling, spent more manpower on a fundraising plan than on a policy response, I strongly recommend that you reconsider your priorities,” said New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter† “Our job right now is to protect people. If you do that, the voices will become more than just intrusive.”
More than half of voters think Supreme Court ruling “a step backwards” according to a CBS News Survey this weekend, and it seems to motivate abortion rights advocates to vote. Fifty percent of Democrats said they were more likely to vote in November, compared to 40 percent in May.
Biden and party leaders have repeatedly used the midterms as a test for protecting abortion rights.
“This fall, roe is on the ballot. Personal liberties are on the agenda. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the list,” the president said Friday, stressing that Congress, not the White House, has the power to restore protections against abortion. “No executive actions… can do that.”
Becerra and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with major insurers Monday to get promises they would cover multiple forms of birth control at no cost to patients, a requirement imposed under the Affordable Care Act but unevenly. is maintained.