Birth Control

Biden Admin Announces Order To Expand Contraceptive Access

President Joe Biden’s administration announced a new executive order aimed at expanding access to contraception on Friday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down national abortion rights.

The new executive order will direct agencies to increase access to contraception through a range of programs and services, including under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Title X family planning services.

“This executive order underscores the continued commitment of the president and vice president to protecting access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care,” Jen Klein, the director of the White House’s Gender Policy Council, said in a statement. reporters on a call Thursday afternoon. While contraception cannot replace the need for abortion services or fill the void left by the loss of a constitutional right, the right to choose, it is an important part of helping ensure that women can make decisions about their own health, life and family.”

The order directs the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services departments to streamline access to birth control for people with private insurance and promote access to over-the-counter contraception; directs the Department of Defense to consider new actions to strengthen access for military members and veterans; and directs HHS to expand the availability and quality of contraception within federally funded health services such as community health centers, as well as support research on contraceptive access.

Klein said the order is intended to increase contraceptive options for the public, raise awareness of them and reduce out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives.

The White House did not have any specific timeline or date by which agencies are required to have the new rules implemented, noting that it takes time to develop new strategies.

Protesters hold signs in support of bodily autonomy after the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

David McNew via Getty Images

The order comes ahead of the first anniversary Saturday of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization, where the court overturned the landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade and thus the national right to abortion. Since then, 13 states have abortion was bannedwith at least 26 closing the clinic in the first 100 days following the decision — closures that also eliminate sources of family planning services such as birth control prescriptions.

Advocates for reproductive rights are concerned next contraception: Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion with Dobbs indicated that she is also willing to put birth control on the chopping block.

The White House, meanwhile, insisted that the order’s focus on contraception did not indicate that the administration had reached the end of the road on what it intended to do on abortion rights.

“This executive order is consistent with our overall response to the Dobbs decision and the state’s efforts to eliminate or otherwise limit access to reproductive care,” Klein said. He noted that shortly after the Dobbs decision, the administration released two executor orders in protecting reproductive rights. “This executive order joins two previous ones, as you know, that together, as I said, laid out a clear roadmap for federal agencies to strengthen access across the spectrum of health care . But it’s clear to us that contraception is no substitute for abortion care.”

The order comes ahead of a rally Friday marking Dobbs’ anniversary, where Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to be endorsed by major reproductive rights advocacy groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and EMILY’s List. Abortion is expected to be a major issue in the 2024 election cycle, the first presidential election since Roe was overturned.

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