On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at helping people with low incomes travel to other states to access abortion services.
Since the Supreme Court ruled in June to end the abortion rights protections established in the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, several states have banned the procedure and others have indicated that they are planning to do so in the near future. In 10 states, abortion is illegal at all stages of pregnancy, save for very limiting circumstances, while another four states ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. It is expected that more restrictions will be enacted in other states over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, states like California, New York and Minnesota have become “sanctuaries” for abortion, not only for their own residents but for those traveling from states where the procedure is illegal.
Biden’s executive order this week seeks to address economic barriers that prevent people from traveling to another state to get an abortion by having Medicaid cover travel expenses for those with qualifying low incomes.
The Secretary of HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] shall consider actions to advance access to reproductive healthcare services, including, to the extent permitted by Federal law, through Medicaid for patients traveling across State lines for medical care.