The American Medical Association cheered the Biden administration’s executive order Friday designed to keep access to emergency contraception and abortion medications.
The move by President Biden comes two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, eliminating a woman’s constitutional right to choose an abortion. Doctor groups say the Supreme Court eliminated a woman’s right to make her own decisions, allowing the government to interfere in personal healthcare decisions.
“Across the country, since the Supreme Court’s egregious decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, physicians have been placed in an impossible situation – straining to meet our ethical duties to place patient health and wellbeing first, while attempting to comply with vague, restrictive, complex, and conflicting state laws that interfere in the practice of medicine and jeopardize the health of patients,” AMA president Dr. Jack Resneck Jr. said Friday.
The AMA, which represents more than 200,000 physicians across all specialities in the U.S., said Biden’s executive order explores “pathways to protect access to reproductive health care services and provide guidance to physicians.”
“For physicians and patients alike, this is a frightening and fraught time, with new, unprecedented concerns about data privacy, access to contraception, and even when to begin lifesaving care,” Dr. Resneck said. “Our hope is that these first steps announced today are clarifying and effective as we continue the critical work necessary to ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive health care.”
Nine states – Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin – have already banned abortion services and more are expected to do the same yet this year.
But the Biden administration’s executive order is designed to defend reproductive rights by: “safeguarding access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception; protecting the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information; promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics; and coordinating the implementation of Federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.”
How the Biden administration executes the new policy will be left up the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has 30 days to report back to the White House, addressing several things including how to protect access to medication abortion, how to ensure emergency medical care and protect access to contraception.