Source: Ken Hammond of the United States Department of Agriculture, Image number: 02cs2059 (cd2888-53).

The Right to Travel For Abortions Defended By Executive Order Of President of the United States

Another executive order on reproductive rights is born.

The president of the United States signed the Executive Order on Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services earlier today, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 which — among other things — defends the right for women to safely travel to another state in order to receive medical care related to abortions and other reproductive healthcare services.

The Right to Travel For Abortions Defended By Executive Order Of President of the United States

After the Supreme Court of the United States voted on Friday, June 24, 2022 to uphold a ban on abortion in the state of Mississippi and also to overturn what had been considered for almost 50 years the Constitutional right for women to abort their unborn fetuses, stating that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” and that “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives”, Joseph R. Biden reaffirmed the statement by Merrick B. Garland — who is the current attorney general of the United States — that women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care which they need; and he committed his administration to defending “that bedrock right.” The signing of the aforementioned executive order affirms this commitment and directs the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States to explore support for women who travel to another state in order to seek medical care, as noted in this official press release from the briefing room of The White House:

Support Patients Traveling Out of State for Medical Care. The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider action to advance access to reproductive healthcare services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state for reproductive healthcare services. This directive is in line with the President and the Attorney General’s clear statements on the Administration’s commitment to defending the bedrock right to travel across state lines to seek reproductive healthcare in states where those services remain legal.

This executive order is the second one which was signed by Biden pertaining to the controversial issue of protecting the right to access reproductive health care services. The first executive order was issued on Friday, July 8, 2022.

Some Companies Already Announced Reimbursement of Travel Expenses For Employees

Also later that day, an official public announcement was issued by Alaska Airlines that the airline will reimburse the costs and expenses of travel for employees who seek medical care which is associated with reproductive healthcare services in a different state than where they are currently based.

In addition to Alaska Airlines, other companies which are linked to travel — such as Airbnb, The Walt Disney Company, and Condé Nast as three examples — had also announced that they will either cover costs for travel for employees who want to undergo the process of aborting a fetus but cannot do so in the jurisdictions in which they live because it is illegal to do so; cover the procedure under insurance as a health care travel benefit; or both.

The Controversy of the Right to Undergo an Abortion

Of significance is the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade on Monday, January 22, 1973, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects the liberty of a pregnant woman to choose to undergo an abortion. Five of the nine justices voted to overturn that ruling; and six of the nine justices also voted to uphold a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in the state of Mississippi, which was being challenged in the case.

As the ability to choose to have an abortion is now no longer considered a Constitutional right, the procedure may become illegal, outlawed, or severely restricted in as many as half of the states in the United States. Other states will likely keep more liberal legislation regarding abortion — similar to before the official ruling was announced earlier today — which means that women may need to travel to another state in order to access free contraceptives and what some people consider to be abortion on demand.

A number of corporations, individuals, and other entities intended on banning official travel to Georgia and refusing to do business in that state because of the passage of a law by the Georgia General Assembly known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality — or LIFE — Act, which became effective as of Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Originally known as the “heartbeat” bill, the law bans abortion the very moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Final Boarding Call

Alaska Airlines and the other aforementioned companies have a right to provide what is considered to be support for their employees — as long as doing so is not illegal. I neither support nor oppose the official decision of the airline or the other companies.

For the record, I am against — in no particular order:

  • Telling a woman what to do with her body
  • Killing an unborn fetus unless the process is for medical reasons
  • Forcing an unwanted baby to be born unloved in a world of hostility

Ideally, the issue pertaining to abortion would be solved by eliminating unwanted pregnancies in the first place — the issue of abortion is basically a debate pertaining to what to do about something which has already happened and likely could have been prevented — but human nature being what it is, that is not likely to ever happen…

…and if unwanted pregnancies could at least be substantially reduced if not eliminated, then the process for couples who want to have a family but cannot have children naturally should be able to adopt unwanted babies with a streamlined process, as many people over the years have had to travel outside of the United States in order to adopt a child. This could potentially eliminate the abortion quagmire in which two sides who are overly adamant about their views and thoughts fight each other — sometimes to death.

Regardless of what happens from here on in with regard to abortion, one thing is for certain: the pro-life versus pro-choice debate is far from over — it will likely never be resolved, in my opinion — regardless of how many official decisions of courts and laws are passed and enforced…

…and travel will likely play a critical role for many women who seek to undergo the controversial procedure.

Source: Ken Hammond of the United States Department of Agriculture, Image number: 02cs2059 (cd2888-53), via Wikimedia Commons.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!