Recent HHS Actions on Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services

DHHS logoFollowing the 6/24/2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court decision, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiated a 5-step action plan that prioritizes “increasing access to medication abortion; protecting patients and providers from discrimination and ensuring privacy for patients and providers; protecting emergency abortion care; ensuring providers have family planning training and resources; and strengthening family planning care including emergency contraception.”  HHS also launched the public awareness website, which includes information on rights to birth control, medication, abortion services, and other preventive health services.  Following the 7/8/2022 Executive Order 14076 – Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services, via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS issued clarifying guidance on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), reaffirming “that it protects providers when offering legally-mandated, life- or health-saving abortion services in emergency situations” and that EMTALA “preempts state law restricting access to abortion in emergency situations.”  HHS also issued guidance to U.S. retail pharmacies reminding them of their “obligations under federal civil rights laws to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care services.”