Joe Biden to sign executive order protecting women who travel for abortion

Allie Utley, left, and Jae Moyer, center, of Overland Park, react during a primary watch party Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at the Overland Park (Kan.) Convention Center. Kansas voters on Tuesday protected the right to get an abortion in their state, rejecting a measure that would have allowed their Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten abortion restrictions or ban it outright. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP)

US President Joe Biden will sign an executive order later today in an attempt to make it easier for women seeking an abortion to travel between states for the procedure.

He will also help launch a federal taskforce on access to reproductive care, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, officials said.

It comes after the US Supreme Court in June ruled to overturn Roe v Wade – the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.

One of the directives Mr Biden will issue will allow states that have not outlawed abortion to apply for specific Medicaid waivers that would help them treat women who have travelled from out of state.

The executive order will also call on healthcare providers to comply with federal non-discrimination laws.

But some Democrats and pro-abortion groups have called on the president to do more amid calls for a public health emergency to be declared.

White House officials said such a declaration would do little to free up federal resources or activate new legal authorities.

Mr Biden is instead hoping that voters come out in force to vote for pro-abortion candidates in November’s midterms, when Republicans are tipped to win back a majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps also the Senate.

Protecting abortion rights is a top issue for female Democrat voters, according to opinion polls

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Mr Biden’s action will come just hours after voters in Kansas protected abortion rights in its constitution by rejecting an amendment that would have allowed state lawmakers to further restrict access to the procedure.

The state was the first in the US to put abortion rights to a vote since the Supreme Court ruling.

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Joy after Kansas abortion rights vote

Mr Biden welcomed the result and said the win for abortion rights advocates in a deeply conservative state showed “the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion”.

“Congress should listen to the will of the American people and restore the protections of Roe as federal law,” he said in a statement.

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