The Biden administration is considering taking drastic measures to extend access to abortion services. Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently talked with Axios about the possibility of declaring a public health emergency to encourage abortion access. Becerra feels that since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June 2022, there has been an ongoing “reproductive health catastrophe.” He stated that the HHS has not completed a full assessment on a declaration, its conditions, and whether it’s merited, but discussions are underway on a wide range of measures that could be taken to protect people’s rights.
In July 2022, the Biden administration issued an executive order instructing Becerra to “take extra steps to protect and extend access to abortion care, including access to medications that the FDA approved more than two decades ago as safe and effective.” The government has also eased restrictions on the distribution of abortion pills. Becerra thinks that the Department of Health and Human Services has the jurisdiction to declare a public emergency, but it is only one of many options on the table.
The White House and HHS have not responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding this issue. It is unclear what other measures the Biden administration may take to expand access to abortion services. However, Becerra has stated that the agency is prioritizing actions that can give them the highest impact and most durable solutions.
The potential for a public health emergency declaration from the HHS is a controversial issue that could have a major impact on reproductive health care in the United States. It remains to be seen if the Biden administration will take this step, but it is clear that they are actively exploring options to ensure access to abortion services.