The Biden administration is considering a plan to declare a public health emergency “that would free up resources to help people access abortions,” Axios’ Oriana Gonzalez reported on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra told the outlet during “reproductive health access” events on Monday that “[t]here are discussions on a wide range of measures … that we can take to try to protect people’s rights.”
“There are certain criteria that you look for to be able to declare a public health emergency. That’s typically done by scientists and those that are professionals in those fields who will tell us whether we are in a state of emergency and based on that, I have the ability to make a declaration,” Becerra continued. He noted there has not been a “full assessment” of what a public health emergency declaration would like like but said there is “an evaluation” on the topic.
An HHS spokesperson also told the outlet that the agency is “constantly exploring additional actions” to “protect and expand” access to abortion, and are “prioritizing the actions that can give us the highest impact and most durable solutions.” The report notes that the White House has previously said declaring a public health emergency about abortion did not “seem like a great option.”
The comments come after both pro-abortion groups and Democrat lawmakers asked the HHS to declare an emergency in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue of abortion back to individual states. Lawmakers contended that declaring an emergency would allow the Biden administration to support pro-abortion states, send out Public Health Services Corps teams, and give the government “the ability to accelerate access to new medications authorized for abortions.”
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) January 31, 2023
Rachel Rebouché, a professor of law at Temple University, told Ms. Magazine that the action would shield medication abortion providers from liability and “state would be preempted from applying their own laws to the actions of these providers working under a public health emergency.”
Mary Ziegler, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis, told Axios a declaration would “potentially make it easier for people who need to travel out-of-state to get abortions or to get abortion medication” and could free up funding that would not otherwise be available. Ziegler added that the move would likely face a court challenge which not end favorably for the Biden administration, though the declaration “might have some value in the short term.”
Pro-life groups blasted the potential for a public health emergency declaration about abortion and accused the Biden administration of falsely treating pregnancy like a disease.
“Biden’s abortion obsessed administration wants to basically declare Martial Law to take control of our society with the same health care regulations used to control Americans during the height of the COVID crisis. This is an abuse of a process that was created to SAVE lives, not end them,” President of Students for Life Action Kristan Hawkins said in a statement to Breitbart News.
Biden’s Abortion obsessed administration wants to basically declare Martial Law to take control of our society with the same healthcare regulations used to control Americans during the height of the COVID crisis.
— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) January 31, 2023
“Even so, we saw how the regulations were abused, and used against Americans, when it really was a health issue being debated. But pregnancy is not a disease and it’s fake cure is not abortion,” Hawkins continued. “The best healthcare in the world should be used to see both mother and child safely cared for and loved. Violating people’s rights of conscience to push abortion in all 50 states using the thuggish tactics of Biden weaponized HHS and DOJ will be opposed with all our resources.We are already taking steps to address this.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said that “Democrats’ pro-abortion extremism knows no bounds.”
“They think allowing more Americans to be born is a crisis, and the only solution is ending those lives through abortion for any reason up until birth. Their latest scheme would result in taxpayer-funded abortion on demand across the country with no protections whatsoever for unborn children or their mothers – including dangerous mail-order abortion drugs that put women at risk of serious complications,” Dannenfelser said.
The Biden-Harris is considering declaring a public health emergency in an attempt to expand abortion on demand until birth nationwide
Our statement: https://t.co/fPmEkgEL0M
— SBA Pro-Life America | 72% 🇺🇸 support 15 weeks (@sbaprolife) January 31, 2023
“If Democrats were truly concerned about women facing difficult circumstances, they would support the pregnancy centers which serve them and outnumber Planned Parenthood 14 to one nationwide. They would be in good company too, since 91 percent of Americans support this compassionate pro-life safety net,” she continued.
In a phone call with Breitbart News on Tuesday, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias accused the Biden administration of “trying to kill as many babies as possible — as soon as possible.”
“The pro-life movement is stepping up with programs to help moms and babies, and all the Biden administration wants to do is end the lives of those babies. That’s not choice. That’s not an option for mothers,” Tobias continued.
She said the Biden administration would make such a move because it “will be absolutely anything and everything it can to undermine the pro-life laws that have been enacted.”
“The Supreme Court said the decision goes back to the people and the elected representatives, and the Biden administration does not want that. They want 50 states that allow abortion for all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, and they would prefer tax dollars to pay for it. This is definitely an effort to undercut those laws that are on the books, protecting children and their moms,” she said.
National Right to Life estimates that more than 64 million unborn babies have been killed by abortion since the Supreme Court issued its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision creating a “right” to abortion. With Roe overturned, the battle to protect unborn babies has shifted to state legislatures, where state Republicans and Democrats now volley over how much protection the unborn should be granted by law.
But as state battles kick off around the country, the Biden administration continues to push its pro-abortion agenda nationwide. In early January, the FDA made a regulatory change allowing retail pharmacies to offer mifepristone — the first pill used in a two-drug medication abortion regimen — in-store and by mail order, though patients will still need a prescription from a certified health care provider.
At the same time, the FDA officially removed the in-person requirement from its regulatory rule book for mifepristone, meaning women will continue to be able to obtain a prescription for the abortion pill via telemedicine. The FDA made the move the same day President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) cleared the U.S. Postal Service to deliver abortion drugs to states with abortion restrictions and bans, offering “limited assurances that a federal law addressing the issue won’t be used to prosecute people criminally over such mailings,” according to Politico.
“The Biden administration is promoting death,” Tobias said of the FDA’s medication abortion push. “That is the only option that they are offering women, and it’s just really sad.”