Washington, Aug 26 (EFE).- President Joe Biden’s administration asked state governors on Friday to allow abortion when the mother’s life is in danger and not refuse or delay medical care to women.
In a letter to governors, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra asked them to apply for Medicaid waivers to expand access to care for women in places where “reproductive rights are under attack and women may be denied medical care.”
The letter reminded governors that the laws they enact must comply with federal standards in protecting women’s health.
Since the US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional protection of the right to abortion, in force since 1973, many conservative states have rushed to pass laws that restrict and even prohibit it in cases of incest or rape.
The Biden government recently approved a rule that obliges all states, regardless of the laws regarding abortion, to allow pregnancy terminations in the event of a medical emergency.
The letter underscored that “current or proposed abortion restriction laws do not negate providers’ responsibilities to comply with federal laws protecting access to emergency health care.”
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, we have seen the gut-wrenching stories of women suffering and not getting the care they need because of newly-enacted laws that restrict abortion care,” the letter said.
“We have also seen state legislatures try to mislead women by saying the are protecting patients while also making it a crime to provide abortion care.”
The letter said the health department would continue to take concrete action to “protect women’s access to reproductive care, including abortion.”
The letter encouraged states to use federal funding to expand access to care “for women traveling from a state that has restricted or prohibited abortion.”
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre lamented that the new abortion bans in Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas marked “the latest attack against the fundamental rights of Americans.”
“These extreme bans will criminalize abortion, in some cases without exceptions for rape or incest,” Jean-Pierre said.
She said the “near-total abortion bans” were part of a growing effort by Republican legislators to roll back the freedoms Americans have relied on for nearly half a century
“Congress should act immediately to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe–and people across the country to should make their voices heard.” EFE