President Joe Biden will issue a presidential memorandum on Sunday to protect access to abortion pills to mark 50 years since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the memorandum during remarks on Sunday in Florida, according to the White House.
“President Biden has emphasized the need to protect access to mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortion that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over 20 years and accounts for the majority of all abortions in the United States,” a Fact Sheet from the White House states.
The FDA made a policy update earlier this month to allow retail pharmacies to become certified to distribute abortion medications, including by telehealth. The Biden administration is pushing back on efforts by some states that have attempted to discourage pharmacies from becoming certified by the FDA.
“The Presidential Memorandum directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), to consider new guidance to support patients, providers, and pharmacies who wish to legally access, prescribe, or provide mifepristone—no matter where they live,” the Fact Sheet explained.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services will reportedly collaborate with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security “to consider new actions to ensure that patients can access legal reproductive care, including medication abortion from a pharmacy, free from threats or violence.”
In addition to the memorandum, President Joe Biden released a statement on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
“Today, instead of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, we are acknowledging that last year, the Supreme Court took away a constitutional right from the American people,” Biden said in the statement.
“Republicans in Congress and across the country continue to push for a national abortion ban, to criminalize doctors and nurses, and to make contraception harder to access. It’s dangerous, extreme, and out of touch,” he added.
The efforts come following a landmark year for the pro-life movement that saw Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion laws returned to individual states in June. Numerous states have since added additional abortion limitations, including some like Oklahoma with near-total abortion bans.
Since the FDA’s policy change, a group of 22 attorneys general sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf asking the agency to reverse its decision to certify retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to abandon commonsense restrictions on remotely prescribing and administering abortion-inducing drugs is both illegal and dangerous,” the letter read. “In direct contravention of longstanding FDA practice and congressional mandate, the FDA’s rollback of important safety restrictions ignores both women’s health and straightforward federal statutes. We urge you to reverse your decision.”