Washington D.C., Aug 3, 2022 / 15:04 pm (CNA).
President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that would allow states to use Medicaid to pay for abortion services for women traveling from other states.
The executive order directed Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra to “consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services” for women, particularly those who travel out of state to have abortions. It was not clear from the language of the executive order exactly which abortion services would be covered.
Under the Hyde Amendment, the use of federal funding for abortions is prohibited except in the cases of rape, incest, or a “life-endangering physical condition” that places the mother “in danger of death.”
At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the order “paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state” by allowing states to apply for Medicaid waivers.
When asked by a reporter how the administration would accomplish this in light of the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on federal abortion funding, Jean-Pierre said, “we’re going to leave it to HHS to come up with the details on the specifics on how they’re going to work with states — if a state asks for a waiver — and what that’s going to look like.”
Pro-life groups have already criticized the move, with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America calling the executive order an illegal effort to “force taxpayers to fund abortion on demand until birth in Democrat-led states.”
This is the second executive order the administration has released since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In addition, the order calls for data collection and research at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “accurately measure the impact that diminishing access to reproductive health care services has on women’s health.”
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