Advocates’ Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order on Reproductive Rights

This morning, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order outlining additional steps the administration will take, aimed at bolstering reproductive health and rights. 

Among them, the president is directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:

  • Protect access to medication abortion,
  • “Consider” strengthening protections for providers performing abortion care in medical emergencies by updating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, 
  • Protect access to contraception through the Affordable Care Act, 
  • Build a cadre of pro bono lawyers to help defend people criminally charged for seeking or providing abortion care, and
  • Find ways to increase public outreach so that those seeking reproductive health care services, including abortion, know how to access them.

The administration will also “consider” several additional actions to shore up privacy rights for patients using digital apps, like period trackers, and those who are increasingly at risk of being reported to law enforcement. Additionally, HHS has already directed the HHS Office for Civil Rights to take initial steps to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination of patients, as well as providers, by issuing new guidance on the HIPAA Privacy Rule which protects the privacy and confidentiality of individual protected health information. A new interagency task force will also be created to tackle reproductive health care.

Advocates is encouraged and hopeful that the administration’s attempts to put these plans in action will finally lead to tangible outcomes and actual protections for people who provide and need access to abortion care. Young people do not have the luxury of waiting any longer to access the services they need and deserve. 

While state and federal governments continue to “consider” legislative and administrative actions to protect abortion access, young people have already been preparing and fighting back in every way they can, through political action, protest, campaigns to end stigma, and far more. 

They have built a network of young people around the country committed to fighting bans, funding abortion, providing practical support to help people travel, and learning about self-managed abortion care. 

Young people are on the front lines of the reproductive justice movement, fighting for abortion access and centering youth, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities who are most impacted by harmful abortion restrictions and dangerous judicial decisions – and they urgently need the administration to do the same right now.