Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Xavier Becerra said Saturday that President Joe Biden’s administration is looking into potentially helping transport women across state lines for abortion access.
Becerra said during an event Saturday that the administration is working alongside Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations, pushing to restore funding for Title X Family Planning Services, working with “supporters on the ground” to provide services to women and looking into helping them access transportation to cross state lines. These efforts follow the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade.
NBC News anchor Kate Snow asked if HHS can legally provide transportation services for women in states that outlaw abortion.
“Talk to me later,” Becerra said. “I always tell my team at HHS ‘if you’ve done your homework, then we have no right to do mild,’ and so we’re going to be aggressive and go all the way … We are looking at every option and among those is transportation.”
Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday to CNN’s Dana Bash that the administration is looking into possible “vouchers for travel” for women to access abortion.
The recently overturned 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade prohibited states from outlawing abortion before the point of fetal viability. The Court’s decision to uphold a Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks sent the authority to regulate and restrict abortion back to the state level.
There is currently no law on the books intending to prosecute women who travel across state lines for an abortion, though the possibility is in the air, The New York Times reported. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion that the Constitution would protect a woman’s right to interstate travel for access the procedure, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Cotton Slams Becerra For ‘Trying To Ignore’ Partial Birth Abortion Ban: ‘He Doesn’t Get To Pick And Choose’)
Thirteen states have so-called “trigger laws” that were set to take effect after the Court’s decision to impose statewide restrictions on abortion, according to CBS News. These states include Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and Oklahoma.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued an opinion Friday allowing the state’s trigger law, the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, to take effect banning abortion except in cases threatening the mother’s life.
Senate Democrats attempted to bring up for debate the Women’s Health Protection Act in May in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft majority opinion, but the bill stalled after all Republicans, along with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, voted against it. The legislation, which passed the House in September 2021, aimed to legalize abortion throughout a woman’s pregnancy, end bans on partial-birth abortions, lift requirements that women undergo ultrasounds before undergoing abortions and eliminate conscience protections for healthcare workers.