(CNSNews.com) – “Every option is on the table” when it comes to “abortion care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told a news conference on Tuesday.
But he emphasized that “we’re going to stay within the confines of the law.”
Following the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and sending abortion decisions back to the states, Becerra announced five steps HHS is taking:
— “First, HHS will take steps to increase access to medication abortion. Federal law requires our programs to provide medication abortion in certain circumstances, such as the life of the woman, rape or incest.
— “Second, I am directing the Office of Civil Rights within HHS to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination for patients seeking reproductive health care as well as providers who offer that health care service.
— “Third, I am directing the department to examine its authority to ensure that clinical judgement of doctors and hospitals is supported in treating pregnant patients, including those experiencing pregnancy loss or complications and reaffirming that abortion care can be appropriate to stabilize patients.
–“Fourth, I am directing all agencies in my department to work to ensure that all providers — from doctors to pharmacists to clinics — have appropriate resources to handle family planning needs, including administering patient referrals for care, and helping patients navigate this new reality.
“Fifth, I am directing the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services — CMS — to take every legally available step to protect family planning care including emergency contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs.”
Becerra said health care is a matter to be decided by patients and their providers.
In response to questions, Becerra said HHS is working with the FDA to make sure they have every “opportunity to continue to provide Americans with access to safe and effective (drug) treatments.”
Becerra said HHS is aware of a “number of ideas” proposed by abortion advocates, such as travel vouchers for abortion-seekers and allowing abortion on federal lands, but he said no decisions have been made yet.
“We will take a look at everything we can, and everything we do will be in compliance with the law,” he said.
In an earlier interview – a clip of which was posted to Twitter – Becerra said, “We are looking at every option, and among those is transportation” (for abortions).”
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