HHS announces funds and legal protections for abortion providers and patients
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers federal resources to protect abortion providers and patients in Texas as well as the rest of the country.
The department’s announcement on Friday included a list of planned actions, such as grants for clinics and legal protections for healthcare workers and pregnant patients.
Following the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, also known as the “heart rate bill,” the Biden administration asked a number of government agencies, including the HHS, to find ways to protect the reproductive rights of Texans.
“Every American deserves access to health care, wherever they live, including access to safe and legal abortions,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release. He called the Texas law a “dangerous attack” on health care and said that “physicians and hospitals have a duty under federal law to make medical decisions about when to eat. is appropriate to treat their patients. And we tell doctors and others involved in providing abortion care that we support you. “
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Grants will be available to providers to support family planning services and emergency contraception. Last week, existing Title X recipients received around $ 19 million for this purpose, according to the ministry’s announcement. More funds should be allocated to any candidate eligible for Title X services with increased needs for these services, either as a result of SB8 or in general.
The ministry also announced that beneficiaries of the Public Health Services Act who receive government contracts, loans and grants cannot discriminate against healthcare workers for assisting or performing a legal abortion. These rights are protected by Church Amendments, which generally protect healthcare workers from employment discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Individuals can file complaints with the HHS Office for Civil Rights if they experience discrimination.
Pregnant patients and patients who experience a miscarriage are also protected under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which takes precedence over state laws and mandates for emergencies. This law requires that all patients receive appropriate medical care if they are found to be suffering from a medical emergency. The department’s announcement warned that providers found to violate the law may be excluded from Medicare and Medicaid programs or receive fines.