Statement from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on House Republicans introducing legislation to snatch women’s access to birth control and abortion drugs

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Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released the following statement about House Republicans introducing legislation to deny women essential medications:

“Denying women the care they need is unamerican – in fact, it’s dangerous. This sums up the latest move by Congress to remove women’s access to prescription reproductive health drugs. Under federal law, patients have the right to access the health care they need, without discrimination. The Biden-Harris administration will vigorously advance and protect women’s rights to essential health care. We will not hesitate to enforce the law.

Below is a summary of actions HHS is taking to ensure access to reproductive health care following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision:

Protect emergency medical care: HHS issued directives and a letter from Secretary Becerra reaffirming that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA, also known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act) protects providers when offering legally mandated life-saving or life-saving abortion services as stabilizing care for emergency medical conditions.

  • Secretary Becerra and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure sent a letter to U.S. governors urging them to work with CMS and seek Medicaid 1115 waivers to provide increased access to care for women in states where reproductive rights are under attack and where women can be denied medical care. They also emphasized that current or proposed abortion restriction laws do not negate the responsibility of providers to comply with federal laws protecting access to emergency health care.

Safeguarding health information and rights of patients and providers: HHS launched ReproductiveRights.gov public awareness website, which includes accurate information on reproductive health, including a Know-Your-Rights patient information sheet to help patients and providers.

Protect patients and providers from discrimination:

  • HHS released a proposed rule that would strengthen regulations interpreting the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reinforce that discrimination based on sex includes discrimination based on pregnancy or medical conditions. related.
  • HHS issued guidelines to about 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, clarifying their obligations under federal civil rights laws.

Protection of patient privacy: HHS has issued guidance that clarifies for patients and providers the extent to which federal laws and regulations protect individuals’ private medical information when seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, as well as when using apps on smartphones.

Support quality reproductive health care: HHS announced nearly $3 million in new funding to strengthen training and technical assistance for the nationwide network of Title X family planning providers.

Protecting access to birth control:

HHS also released a report the agency prepared for the President on actions HHS has taken to date to ensure access to reproductive health care following the Supreme Court’s decision, with more details. on future actions and commitments. Read the report “Secretary’s Report: Health Care Under Attack: An Action Plan to Protect and Strengthen Reproductive Care.”

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