Federal Government to Take Action to Protect Reproductive Rights Amid Roe v. Wade’s Reversal: HHS Secretary

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade was a “despicable” decision, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday, and he vowed the government will take new action to protect reproductive rights across the country.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure women have access to the healthcare they need,” the Biden administration’s top health official said at a press conference. “Every option is on the table,” Becerra said.

Friday’s high court ruling overturned the landmark 1973 decision giving constitutional protection to women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.

“We are intent on protecting people’s rights under the law,” Becerra said, and stressed that women should remember they “haven’t lost all their rights.”

Becerra’s remarks came as President Joe Biden faces increasing pressure to push back against conservative states already implementing abortion bans. At least eight states have banned the procedure and about half of the country’s states plan to dramatically limit access to it.

Biden pledged Friday the government would immediately act to “protect women’s rights in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision.”

Becerra’s Tuesday press conference was in response to that pledge, and he unveiled a plan to help women receive reproductive health measures.

The plan includes increasing access to abortion medication such as the “morning after” pill and protecting private health care information amid fears that women will be prosecuted for trying to obtain abortions in states that ban them.

“This is a moment of crisis in health care. We will leave no stone unturned,” Becerra said, but he acknowledged “there is no magic bullet.”

Becerra’s department has also launched a website,reproductiverights.gov, which provides information on obtaining abortions and how to file a complaint with the federal government “if you believe that your or another person’s civil rights or health information privacy rights have been violated.”

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