With reproductive health a primary concern and only heightened with the Supreme Court’s controversial overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Atlanta mayor and now-senior adviser to President Biden, has hit the campaign trail of sorts.
Lance Bottoms has provided reminders of what President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are doing to protect women’s rights.
“The Administration is supporting women’s access to reproductive health care services, including their ability to travel to seek abortion care in states where it is legal,” Lance Bottoms insisted.
She noted that Biden had directed administration heads to take further action to protect access to reproductive health care services and to address the crisis facing women’s health and public health more broadly.
“We know that people have difficult decisions facing them each and every day, and so sometimes people are only concerned about the things that are just before them, and rightfully so, but we must remind people that elections matter,” Lance Bottoms stated as voters head to the polls for the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
“It matters if you have a Congress supporting a woman’s right to choose. So, we have to remind people, and we must keep reminding people how far backward the Supreme Court has taken us with the Dobbs decision,” Bottoms asserted.
She added that reminders are necessary because “the fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies remains at stake.”
Among other actions, Biden has ordered the secretary of Health and Human Services to consider efforts to advance access to reproductive health care services, including, to the extent permitted by federal law, through Medicaid for patients traveling across state lines for medical care.
Lance Bottoms said the administration also continues to promote compliance with non-discrimination laws for those obtaining medical care.
She said federal law still ensures that individuals are not denied necessary health care because of any ground, including current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, or other medical conditions.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been vocal about protecting women’s reproductive rights even before the Supreme Court’s decision, which she called unthinkable during a discussion earlier this month.
“But it’s — really, it’s — it was unthinkable, I think, for so many of us,” Harris demanded.
“We knew it might happen, but let — I mean, let’s just pause for a moment. The highest court in our land, the United States Supreme Court, just took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America,” she said.
Harris noted that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has remained active on several fronts to ensure “clarity amid the confusion.”
“One of the things that HHS did that I think is very significant is sent out to pharmacies information about their legal requirement to administer medication as prescribed,” Harris stated.
“And — and I also applaud that agency for having announced that they will investigate where there are any violations of the rules of conduct on that issue.”
Harris and Lance Bottoms said that the Department of Education, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission have all been part of the administration’s push to protect women’s rights.
“The Department of Education has been extraordinary. Secretary Cardona has been doing some important work around ensuring that we protect students and their reproductive rights, including their ability to take leave from school for whatever reproductive health care they need, and make sure that there’s no discrimination in that regard,” the vice president said.
“The Department of Justice has been coordinating with a number of agencies as appropriate but has also set up, for example, a process of eliciting pro bono hours because there are going to be so many folks who are on the ground doing the work who are not sure of the legal risks that they are taking in these various states.”
Harris concluded, “So, that is the kind of work that’s happening through our administration. The President has signed two executive orders relating to making a very clear statement that we intend to protect and defend people’s right to travel and emergency health care.”