By Tyler Arnold
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday to expand access to all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including contraceptives that induce abortions.
The executive order, which is intended to increase access to contraceptives over the counter, reduce the cost of contraceptives, and increase access for veterans and students, was signed the day before the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That decision overturned Roe v. Wade and returned abortion laws back to the states.
“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,” a White House press release read.
One aspect of the executive order directs three agencies to consider guidelines that would ensure that private health insurance companies cover all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing to reduce costs. It also compels the agencies to streamline the process for women seeking these products.
The order directs agencies to consider actions to increase access to contraceptives over the counter, including emergency contraceptives that induce an abortion. According to a White House news release, the Biden administration is suggesting discussions with pharmacies, employers, and insurers and then providing guidance to support more over-the-counter access.
Some aspects of the executive order will also address Medicare and Medicaid. The order directs the Department of Health and Human services to consider actions to improve coverage for contraceptives through Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans. It also directs the department to consider actions to expand access to family planning services and supplies through Medicaid.
The executive order further asks agencies to consider actions that would increase access to contraception for veterans, federal workers, private employees, and students through health care plans.
Another part of the executive order directs Health and Human Services to research additional ways to expand access to contraceptives.
Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, has signed a handful of executive orders geared toward expanding access to abortion and contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs. The administration has also defended the use of mifepristone amid a federal lawsuit, which is a drug that can kill an unborn child up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls abortion a “moral evil” (No. 2271) and the use of contraceptives “intrinsically evil” (No. 2370).
“This will be the third executive order on reproductive health care access that the president has signed since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and the first focused specifically on protecting and expanding access to contraception,” the White House statement read.
A previous executive order directed agencies to consider actions that would increase access to abortion, and the president has worked with state leaders to expand abortion. The Biden administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs also changed its policies to expand access to abortion for veterans and family members of veterans.