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Shaheen Joins Push for Biden Administration to Take New Steps to Protect Reproductive Freedom

**Since Roe v. Wade was Overturned: At Least Eighteen States Have Eliminated All or Some Access to Abortion; Republicans in New Hampshire & New Congress Have Passed Anti-Abortion Measures; Court Poised to Eliminate Access to Medication Abortion Nationwide** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined a letter led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) urging the Biden administration to take new steps to protect reproductive freedom amid divided control of Congress and increasing efforts to restrict access to abortion. 

“Each day, women’s lives are threatened because they are denied access to essential health care,” wrote the Senators. “As President of the United States, you have a distinct role and responsibility to defend reproductive rights for all Americans and ensure those values are reflected in domestic and foreign policy. We urge you to continue using the resources of the entire federal government to mount a robust response to this crisis.” 

The Senators laid out eleven new steps the Biden administration can take to respond to this growing crisis:  

  1. Clarify the resources and support available to individuals seeking abortion care outside of their home state by issuing guidance detailing Americans’ right to travel under the interstate commerce clause and exploring additional opportunities to finance travel and support for those seeking abortions. 
  2. Continue efforts to protect the privacy and safety of abortion providers and patients by issuing new regulations to strengthen the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to ensure that data cannot be shared with law enforcement and used to criminalize abortion providers or patients, and to ensure robust enforcement of the law. 
  3. Protect access to medication abortion. In light of the deeply concerning lawsuit in Texas, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, which poses significant risks to medication abortion and FDA’s long-standing authority to regulate drugs in the United States, the administration should use every legal and regulatory tool at their disposal to keep this drug – which has a more than 22-year safety record – on the market. This includes any existing authorities, such as enforcement discretion, to allow mifepristone to remain available. 
  4. Continue to evaluate remaining restrictions on medication abortion by continuing to follow the science to determine if any remaining restrictions on the distribution of mifepristone, including patient consent forms, are medically unnecessary.  
  5. Ensure veterans, service members, beneficiaries, and other federal employees can access abortion care, and that Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health care providers who perform covered abortions can act without retaliation.  
  6. Enforce “Free Choice of Provider” requirements. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should more aggressively enforce federal laws that guarantee Medicaid beneficiaries the ability to seek family planning services from their provider of choice, and protect the existing right of people to access care from their provider of choice 
  7. Rescind harmful Executive Orders that undermine access to abortion, contraception, and other reproductive care.  
  8. Ensure enforcement of the women’s health preventive services benefit under the ACA by ensuring individuals with private health insurance have affordable access to the birth control of their choice.  
  9. Ensure undocumented individuals seeking abortions, and those who assist them, can access that care without fear of detention or deportation.  
  10. Ensure those held in federal custody can access abortion care by expanding and enforcing existing protections to safeguard the right to abortion for those who elect to receive these services while being held in federal custody. 
  11. Increase critical funding for domestic and global sexual and reproductive health services in the President’s 2024 Budget. The Budget Proposal should not include the Hyde Amendment or the Helms Amendment. 

In addition to Shaheen, Warren and Hirono, U.S. Senators Smith (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Padilla (D-CA), Booker (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Blumenthal (D-CT), Duckworth (D-IL), Baldwin (D-WI) and Brown (D-OH) also signed onto the letter. 

Full text of the letter is available here.  

Senator Shaheen is an unrelenting advocate for women’s reproductive rights. As it became clear last fall that the Supreme Court would likely overturn Roe, Shaheen held a press conference with the New Hampshire delegation and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to discuss women’s freedoms and the implications for reproductive health with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. She later spoke on the Senate floor to urge lawmakers to vote in favor of legislation that would codify Roe. For years, Shaheen has fought to expand coverage of women’s preventative care, including through her legislation to reduce the cost of contraception for servicewomen and dependents in military families. She also penned an op-ed for the Union Leader underscoring the threats to women’s freedoms and rights in a post-Roe America. It can be read in full here. Earlier this month, she joined a group of Senators in a letter to Danco Laboratories, a manufacturer of mifepristone, urging them to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add miscarriage management to the medication’s label. Currently, mifepristone’s label includes medication abortion, but it can also be safely and legally used for miscarriage management.