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White House says new Biden EO ‘paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions’

The White House said Wednesday that President Biden’s new executive order on reproductive health care access “paves the way” for taxpayer-funded abortions.

Biden signed an executive order earlier Wednesday that directs Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider advancing “access to reproductive healthcare services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state for reproductive healthcare services.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during the daily briefing that the order “paves the way for Medicaid to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state.”

“Secretary Becerra will invite states to apply for Medicaid waivers to allow them to provide reproductive health care to women who live in states where abortions are banned,” she said.

Jean-Pierre said the waivers will pay for the actual abortion procedures, but she had little additional details to offer.

“So it’s the Medicaid waiver, from what I understand – it is for them to pay for abortion procedure,” she said. “And I don’t have the specifics on the travel. We can easily go back, but from what I understand, Medicaid pays for your health care services. So I presume it is for the health care.”


“We’re going to leave it to HHS to come up with the details on the specifics on how they’re going to work with states, if a state asks for a waiver and what that’s going to look like,” she added. “So this is going to be in their purview.”

U.S. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2022.

Reporter Owen Jensen of EWTN, a Catholic news network, asked the press secretary why Biden, a Catholic, wants to force taxpaying Catholics to subsidize abortions. 

“So federal law makes clear doctors must provide women emergency medical care, including abortion services, to stabilize women facing life-threatening conditions,” Jean-Pierre responded. “We are working to ensure that pregnant women whose life and lives are in serious jeopardy receive the care that they need.”

“But under that same federal law, there are exceptions for moral … or religious objections to provide particular medical services. So nothing in today’s EO impacts those exceptions,” she added.

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. 

It’s unclear how the order will work, given that the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal tax money from being used to fund abortions. Additionally, all states where abortions have been banned since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade already provide an exception for abortions to be performed if the mother’s life is in danger, and many provide exceptions for rape and incest.

Jean-Pierre appeared confident that the order does not violate the Hyde Amendment.

“This EO will not violate the Hyde Amendment,” she said. “It is law, and we followed the law here.”

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