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Federal Briefs

  Bioethics in Law & Culture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Summer 2022    vol. 5  issue  3

Federal Government activity from April 2022 – July 2022 

Ana Brennan, J.D.


Congressional Action


Since the Dobbs decision:


Sen. Hawley and Rep. Tenney introduced the Pregnancy Resource Center Defense Act in the Senate and House respectively. This bill would increase criminal penalties for attacking pregnancy centers.


House of Representatives

The Women’s Health Protection Act. The House passed HR 8296, 219-210, along party lines with the exception of one Democrat. The bill now goes to the Senate. This act would go beyond codifying Roe by erasing any pro-life law a state may have.


The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act. The House passed HR 8297, 223 to 205. This act would protect the ability to travel across state lines to obtain an abortion. It now moves to the Senate.


The Right to Contraception Act. The House passed HR 8373, 228-195. The alleged purpose of this bill was to protect the availability of contraception, but it was so broadly defined that it could have protected chemical abortions as well. It also provided massive funding for Planned Parenthood. It now moves to the Senate.



The Right to Contraception Act was blocked for consideration in the Senate by Sen. Ernst.

Ernst has blocked the Senate from considering it. Senate Republicans tried to amend the bill so that it did not promote abortion, which was blocked by the Democrats. Democrats tried to bring up the bill for a vote by unanimous consent, but it failed. Democrats now need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.




Biden Administration


Since the Dobbs decision:


The Biden Administration plans to push abortion to “the fullest extent possible” by:

1) reminding federal workers that they must provide abortion pills in the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother

2) training doctors to refer for abortions

3) exploring ways to apply the Emergency Medical Treatment Ac to expand abortions

4) according to the Attorney General Garland states may not ban the abortion pill because it is approved by the FDA.

Health and Human Services

Biden signed an executive order directing Health and Human Services to explore and take action to promote abortion, especially chemical abortions. Health and Human Services proposed a rule to prohibit discrimination based on the basis of “termination of pregnancy”. This could lead to doctors and hospitals being forced to do abortions or risk losing their license.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement

ICE is transporting girls and women across state lines to get abortions. “This memorandum serves as a reminder of existing ICE policies and standards requiring that pregnant individuals detained in ICE immigration custody have access to full reproductive health care, . . . This is also a reminder that, pursuant to existing ICE policy, it may be necessary to transfer a detained pregnant individual within an area of responsibility (AOR) or to another AOR, when appropriate and practicable, in order to ensure such access.”

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