President Biden's Contraception Executive Order Aims to Expand Access
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday to strengthen Americans' access to birth control on the one-year anniversary of a Supreme Court decision that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Last year, the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ended federal protection for abortion rights in America. One year later, on Friday, June 23, 2023, the Biden administration issued an executive order laying out various ways the federal government intends to increase the availability of birth control.
This was the third executive order focused on contraception, the administration noted in a news release Friday.
"Contraception is an essential component of reproductive health care that has only become more important in the wake of Dobbs and the ensuing crisis in women's access to health care," the release said.
How many women lack birth control?
More than 19 million American women of reproductive age live in "contraceptive deserts" where they lack access to publicly funded contraceptive services, according to the nonprofit Power to Decide, which pushes for increased access to reproductive health services, including contraception.
"For these women, seeing a provider, accessing trusted information and finding the right birth control becomes nearly impossible," the Power to Decide website states.
"Delilah lives in Northern Texas, a contraceptive desert. In her county and the dozen counties around her, there are no health centers. To consult with her doctor about changing pill brands, she must travel for nearly seven hours and go more than 400 miles to a county with two health centers," according to the website.
What was President Biden's executive order?
The administration's order, Executive Order on Strengthening Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception and Family Planning Services, directs the U.S. secretaries of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider several ways to expand access to and reduce the cost of birth control in America.
This executive order will encourage federal entities to do the following, according to the White House:
- Improve contraception affordability for women with private insurance.
- Promote increased access to over-the-counter contraceptives, including emergency birth control.
- Expand affordable family planning services and supplies under Medicare.
- Improve coverage of birth control through Medicare.
- Ensure "robust coverage" of contraception for service members, veterans and federal employees.
- Expand the availability of birth control at federally supported health centers.
- Support affordable contraceptive access at America's public colleges.
- Promote research on contraception access in America.
What can Americans expect moving forward?
In a separate statement calling on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade Friday, the Biden administration said it was taking executive action "to protect access across the full spectrum of reproductive health care."
"In the wake of Dobbs, the President issued two Executive Orders directing a comprehensive slate of actions to protect access to reproductive health care services, including abortion. And today [Friday], the President is issuing a third Executive Order focused on strengthening access to affordable, high-quality contraception, a critical aspect of reproductive health care," the statement said.
"The Administration remains fully committed to implementing these Executive Orders and advancing access to reproductive health care through the leadership of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, co-chaired by the White House Gender Policy Council and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."