An executive order signed by President Biden on Wednesday directs the Department of Health and Human Services to consider using taxpayer money to pay for abortions out of state.
What are the details?
The order calls on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to “consider actions to promote access to reproductive healthcare services, such as through Medicaid for patients who travel across State lines for medical treatment.”
The White House claimed the executive order “coincides with Vice President Biden’s commitment to safeguarding the fundamental right to travel across state lines in order to obtain reproductive healthcare in states where it is legal.”
After the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Biden denounced the court and vowed to defend abortion rights.
“The court has made it very clear that it will not defend women’s rights — period. This was a terrible, extreme, and incorrect decision,” he added.
On Wednesday, Biden restated his strident tone, speaking from within the White House after testing positive for COVID-19 numerous times.
“I pledge to the American people that we are doing everything possible to protect access to health care, including the right to choose that women had under Roe v. Wade, which was taken away by this extreme court,” Biden said.
What about the Hyde Amendment?
Although Biden urges the Department of Health and Human Services to “consider measures” to fund abortion through Medicaid, doing so would be prima facie unlawful under the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funds from paying for abortions.
The Guttmacher Institute explains:
“Medicaid is a federal-state collaboration. The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal Medicaid money for abortion except in cases of incest, rape, or endangerment of the mother’s life. In these situations, all state Medicaid plans must cover abortions; however, states have the option to pay for additional procedures with their own funds.”
To that end, several states — Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Hawaii — provide their own cash to pay for abortion services via Medicaid.
What did the WH say
The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, was asked on Wednesday why Biden wants taxpayers to “subsidize” abortion.
“Why does the president want to force pro-life Americans, such as the Catholic Church, to pay for abortions?” reporter Owen Jensen inquired.
“Federal legislation states that physicians must provide emergency medical care, including abortion services to help women who have life-threatening circumstances,” Jean-Pierre stated.
“We are working to ensure that expectant mothers whose lives and futures are in extreme jeopardy get the care they require,” she continued. “This is what we’re talking about right now. This is what we’re trying to accomplish. This is what President Biden promised he would do.”