United States President Joe Biden is responding to criticism of inaction in his handling of the abortion crisis with an executive order, which he plans to sign this Friday and which, according to a statement from the White House, aims to “safeguard access to reproductive health services, including abortion and contraception, and protect the privacy and security of patients and clinics.
The executive order comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in favor of overturning a precedent of half a century established by another decision of this court, Roe versus Wade, which, in 1973, gave constitutional status to the protection of abortion. The decision restores to the states the power to legislate on the freedom of women to terminate their pregnancies, until then guaranteed by the federal government. 26 of the 50 states are considering seriously restricting or prohibiting access to abortion.
Biden’s measures are designed to counter these state laws while working toward a more elusive goal: getting through Congress a rule that codifies the guarantees of Roe versus Wade. It won’t be easy: To get there, the Democratic Party, which holds 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate, would have to add 60 votes, under the filibuster rule, which requires super majorities for deep reforms. The president has already warned that he is ready to press what is called in Washington “the nuclear button”, which would allow him to approve a federal settlement with a simple majority.
“Basic rights – to privacy, autonomy, liberty and equality – have been denied to millions of women across the country,” the White House statement said. “This has serious consequences for your health, your life and your well-being. This decision will disproportionately affect women of color and low-income women, as well as those who live in rural areas.
According to the document released early Friday by the White House, the president ordered Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to protect access to abortion pills, which anti-abortion groups have placed as next target in their war, trying to continue its spread; 54% of pregnancy terminations performed in 2020 in the United States were with medication. Becerra is also responsible for “guaranteeing emergency medical care to pregnant women and those who undergo spontaneous abortion”, launching an awareness campaign, organizing the defense of patients who need it with a network of lawyers who work for free and guarantee access to contraceptives.
The Supreme Court decision bases its argument on the fact that abortion is not guaranteed in the United States Constitution and that Roe v. Wade was “extremely wrong from the start” because she relied on abortion protection for the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment in the part that protects the privacy of individuals. Other decisions that guaranteed the use of contraceptives, same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships are based on this same provision, rights that are now being questioned in the hands of the court with the most conservative composition of the last eight decades in the United States. United States. .
The order now signed by Biden, which dwells on the safety of “mobile clinics” that provide reproductive health services, also plans to protect the privacy of patients, as well as their access to accurate information and the confidentiality of their data. To do this, a guide will be issued making it clear to physicians that, “with few exceptions, they are not required, and in many cases are not permitted, to disclose private patient information, even to law enforcement agencies. order”, according to the text of the White House.
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