President Biden issues Executive Order on Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Nearly 50 years ago, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), articulated the United States Constitution’s protection of women’s fundamental right to make reproductive healthcare decisions. These deeply private decisions should not be subject to government interference. Yet today, fundamental rights — to privacy, autonomy, freedom, and equality — have been denied to millions of women across the country.
Eliminating the right recognized in Roe has already had and will continue to have devastating implications for women’s health and public health more broadly. Access to reproductive healthcare services is now threatened for millions of Americans, and especially for those who live in States that are banning or severely restricting abortion care. Women’s health clinics are being forced to close — including clinics that offer other preventive healthcare services such as contraception — leaving many communities without access to critical reproductive healthcare services. Women seeking abortion care — especially those in low-income, rural, and other underserved communities — now have to travel to jurisdictions where services remain legal notwithstanding the cost or risks.
In the face of this health crisis, the Federal Government is taking action to protect healthcare service delivery and promote access to critical reproductive healthcare services, including abortion. It remains the policy of my Administration to support women’s right to choose and to protect and defend reproductive rights. Doing so is essential to justice, equality, and our health, safety, and progress as a Nation.
Sec. 2. Definitions. (a) The term “agency” means any authority of the United States that is an “agency” under 44 U.S.C. 3502(1), other than one considered to be an independent regulatory agency, as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5).
(b) The term “reproductive healthcare services” means medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to pregnancy or the termination of a pregnancy.
Sec. 3. Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services. (a) Within 30 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit a report to the President:
(i) identifying potential actions:
(A) to protect and expand access to abortion care, including medication abortion; and
(B) to otherwise protect and expand access to the full range of reproductive healthcare services, including actions to enhance family planning services such as access to emergency contraception;
(ii) identifying ways to increase outreach and education about access to reproductive healthcare services, including by launching a public awareness initiative to provide timely and accurate information about such access, which shall:
(A) share information about how to obtain free or reduced cost reproductive healthcare services through Health Resources and Services Administration-Funded Health Centers, Title X clinics, and other providers; and
(B) include promoting awareness of and access to the full range of contraceptive services, as well as know-your-rights information for those seeking or providing reproductive healthcare services; and
(iii) identifying steps to ensure that all patients ‑- including pregnant women and those experiencing pregnancy loss, such as miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies — receive the full protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law, including by considering updates to current guidance on obligations specific to emergency conditions and stabilizing care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395dd, and providing data from the Department of Health and Human Services concerning implementation of these efforts.
(b) To promote access to reproductive healthcare services, the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President shall convene a meeting of private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations in order to encourage lawyers to represent and assist patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking these services throughout the country.
Sec. 4. Protecting Privacy, Safety, and Security. (a) To address potential heightened safety and security risks related to the provision of reproductive healthcare services, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consider actions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to ensure the safety of patients, providers, and third parties, and to protect the security of clinics (including mobile clinics), pharmacies, and other entities providing, dispensing, or delivering reproductive and related healthcare services.
(b) To address the potential threat to patient privacy caused by the transfer and sale of sensitive health-related data and by digital surveillance related to reproductive healthcare services, and to protect people seeking reproductive health services from fraudulent schemes or deceptive practices:
(i) The Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is encouraged to consider actions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law (including the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.), to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive healthcare services.
(ii) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider actions, including providing guidance under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Public Law 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (1996) as amended by Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115 (2009), and any other statutes as appropriate, to strengthen the protection of sensitive information related to reproductive healthcare services and bolster patient-provider confidentiality.
(iii) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, consider actions to educate consumers on how best to protect their health privacy and limit the collection and sharing of their sensitive health-related information.
(iv) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Chair of the FTC, consider options to address deceptive or fraudulent practices related to reproductive healthcare services, including online, and to protect access to accurate information.
Sec. 5. Coordinating Implementation Efforts. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Gender Policy Council shall establish and co-chair an Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access (Task Force). Additional members shall include the Attorney General and the heads of other agencies as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Gender Policy Council. The Task Force shall work to identify and coordinate activities to protect and strengthen access to essential reproductive healthcare services. In addition, the Task Force shall coordinate Federal interagency policymaking, program development, and outreach efforts to address barriers that individuals and entities may face in seeking and providing reproductive healthcare services. The Department of Health and Human Services shall provide funding and administrative support as may be necessary for the performance and functions of the Task Force.
(b) The Attorney General shall provide technical assistance, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, concerning Federal constitutional protections to States seeking to afford legal protection to out-of-State patients and providers who offer legal reproductive healthcare.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 8, 2022.