Yesterday, President Biden convened the first meeting of the interagency task force on reproductive healthcare at the White House. He made a series of proclamations dedicated to increasing abortion access and signed a new executive order.
Biden’s executive order lacked specifics, but it broadly is meant to help patients who need to travel out of state to have an abortion. Biden’s new directive arrived right after the state of Kansas voted by wide margins against a referendum that would have further restricted abortion rights.
Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, also attended and spoke at the interagency task force meeting yesterday. Becerra reiterated HHS’s commitment to abortion care and said that they are taking action to ensure access to medication abortion.
Becerra’s comments come weeks after Democratic leaders and civil rights organizations sent a letter to the Biden Administration outlining ways to protect access to medication abortion. Wendy Davis, the former state senator and founder of Deeds Not Words and Greg Casar, the likely new congressman from Austin were both at the press conference announcing that letter and released a joint statement following Becerra’s latest comments.
“The Biden Administration can provide enormous support to Texans by making medication abortion available inside states where abortion is banned,” they said. “We must make sure patients can see a health care provider via telehealth, and have abortion medication mailed from out-of-state into Texas.”
Texas not only enacted a six-week abortion ban nearly a year ago, they also passed a law to ban abortion-inducing medication after seven weeks. According to the Guttmacher Institute, medication abortion accounts for about 39 percent of all abortions in the United States, and it safer than Tylenol.