Monday marks the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court ruling that was overturned in June 2022 and granted privacy for reproductive choices.
The 1973 decision's anniversary serves as a significant point in the ongoing abortion debate, as it could impact the decision at the polls for voters on both sides of the issue in 2024.
The Biden administration is starting a nationwide political push this week with a focus on abortion rights.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the primary messenger on this issue, will kick off the events on Monday in Wisconsin, and then on Tuesday, President Biden, Vice President Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will head to Virginia for a campaign stop centered on the same issue.
"Because of Republican elected officials, women’s health and lives are at risk. In states across the country, women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to go to court to seek permission for the medical attention they need, and made to travel hundreds of miles for health care," said President Biden in a press release. "Even as Americans — from Ohio to Kentucky to Michigan to Kansas to California — have resoundingly rejected attempts to limit reproductive freedom, Republican elected officials continue to push for a national ban and devastating new restrictions across the country."
Aiming to reshape voter perspectives, the administration has unveiled new steps to protect reproductive health care access.
According to the White House, the administration is taking multiple actions to enhance contraception access for women with private health insurance, as well as ensuring awareness of rights and obligations for emergency medical care, including pregnancy-related emergencies, under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).
The Department of Health and Human Services is sending a letter to private health insurers, state Medicaid, and Medicare plans outlining their obligations to cover contraception, while also inviting U.S. governors to seek waivers to expand Medicaid access for women facing reproductive rights challenges in their home states and support patients traveling out of state for medical care. The HHS is also working to strengthen reproductive health privacy under HIPAA.
The news comes a day after President Biden's campaign launched a new ad featuring Dr. Austin Dennard, the Texas OB-GYN and mother of three who is now recounting her experience of being forced to leave the state to terminate a pregnancy at 11 weeks due to a life-threatening diagnosis of anencephaly, a condition in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull.
“In Texas, you are forced to carry that pregnancy, and that is because of Donald Trump overturning Roe v. Wade,” Dennard says in the ad. “It’s every woman’s worst nightmare, and it was absolutely unbearable.”
Before this year's Iowa caucuses, Republicans, on the other hand, usually known for supporting abortion restrictions, avoided the topic, fearing political risks after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
However, on Friday, anti-abortion rights supportersrallied in Washington to praise the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and emphasized the need to continue pressuring lawmakers for more abortion restrictions.
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