President Biden will take executive action Friday to protect access to abortion, according to three people familiar with the matter, as he faces mounting pressure from Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure two weeks ago. The White House said Biden will speak Friday morning "on protecting access to reproductive health care services," but the actions Biden was to outline were expected to be limited in scope, the AP reports. He is expected to formalize instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to access federally approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services.
Biden's executive order will also direct agencies to work to educate medical providers and insurers about how and when they are required to share privileged patient information with authorities—an effort to protect women who seek or utilize abortion services. The order, coming two weeks after the high court's June 24 ruling that ended the nationwide right to abortion and left it to states to determine whether or how to allow the procedure, comes as Biden has faced criticism from some in his own party for not acting with more urgency to protect women's access to abortion. Since the ruling, Biden has stressed that his ability to protect abortion rights by executive action is limited without congressional action.
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