WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Federal government officials announced they are launching a new action plan to help those who are trying to access abortions, but live in states where it is now illegal. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says the federal government is working to ensure patients in all states have equal reproductive health care.
“Friday’s Supreme Court decision was despicable,” Becerra said. “Every option is on the table.”
Secretary Becerra says HHS is considering paying for travel vouchers for patients to access abortions, and is aware of the idea of building abortion clinics on federal land in conservative states.
However, the secretary noted any federal action could take time because the issue is legally complex, but says federal law requires federal healthcare programs to cover family planning and even abortions in some cases.
“We will make sure that if a state is utilizing federal funds, under federal programs, health care programs, that they respect the laws,” Becerra said.
Becerra noted that his department is working with the Justice Department “to ensure that states may not ban medication abortion based on a disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment,” Becerra explained.
But a major legal fight is expected in the country over access to abortion medication.
“There is no magic bullet, but if there is something we can do we will find it,” Becerra said.
Federal action must comply with the law which includes the new Supreme Court decision and the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal tax dollars for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life.