Statement from Secretary Becerra on the One Year Anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Decision
Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released the following statement on the anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision. Yesterday, the Secretary visited Planned Parenthood centers in Fairview Heights, IL and St. Louis, MO, including the same clinic he visited a year ago when the Dobbs ruling was announced.
“One year ago today, the Supreme Court cast aside a half century of precedent protecting rights and access to abortion and, in the process, undermined women’s autonomy, health, privacy, and safety.
“I was visiting a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, Missouri, when the decision overturning Roe v. Wade came down. I watched in real time as providers turned away patients because they were afraid what might happen if they offered even basic reproductive health care.
“Yesterday, I returned to Missouri – one of the first states to pass an abortion ban after Roe was overturned – and revisited that same clinic. We haven’t forgotten about the women and providers who were affected in Missouri, and all the other states with abortion bans. We continue to stand with them.
“In the past year, we have seen how the state you live in can block your ability to access care. Women seeking reproductive health care, including abortion care, find themselves living in care deserts, and some have had to travel thousands of miles to access basic services. We have heard the tragic cases of women being denied life-saving care because of the chaos and fear that Dobbs has created.
“The Biden-Harris Administration will always defend a woman’s access to reproductive health care because our daughters shouldn’t grow up in an America where they have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers. Since the Dobbs decision, we have worked across the federal government to promote access, information, and privacy for those seeking reproductive health care, including abortion care.
“But we know that real and lasting progress often requires Congress to act. I urge Congress to make the protections of Roe federal law.”
Since Dobbs, HHS has worked to protect and expand access to reproductive care amid unprecedented efforts to restrict access to abortion and contraception. This work has been focused on three key priority areas:
- Reaffirming the Department’s commitment to protecting the right to abortion care in emergency settings under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA),
- Clarifying protections for birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and
- Protecting medical privacy – including empowering patients to protect their medical information on smart phones, apps, and other platforms.
A January 2023 report on HHS’ actions can be found at https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/roe-report.pdf