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Federal Briefs

  Bioethics in Law & Culture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Winter 2023   vol. 6  issue  1

Federal Government activity from November 2023 – February 2023 

Ana Brennan, J.D.



Health and Human Services

The Biden Administration pursued a plan to change a Trump-era rule protecting pro-life doctors and

medical professionals from being forced to be involved with abortion.  The attempted rule change was challenged and in August 2022 the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Biden Administration until November 25, 2022, to appeal the decision. The Administration did not file an appeal, effectively stopping the rule change from taking effect.


Public Health Emergency - On more than one occasion, the Biden Administration has discussed issuing an abortion public health emergency, giving the HHS additional power the expand abortion. In reposnse, on February 8, 2023, Senator Marko Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill to prevent the Administration from pursuing this action.

Department of Defense

On October 30, 2022, the DoD issued a memo explaining abortion coverage, including paying travel expenses for abortion.  On February 7, 2023, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-TX) introduced a joint-resolution, signed by 60 representatives so far.

On February 17, 2023, DoD issued guidance implementing the funding of elective abortions for military members. In response, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) will place a hold on DoD civilian nominations.

Food and Drug Administration

On January 3, 2023, the FDA announced that it would allow pharmacies to sell abortion drugs. On January 17, 2023, a group of doctors and medical associations filed suit against the Administration's expansion of abortion, challenging the FDA's 2000 approval of the abortion drug. 


Department of Justice

On January 4, 2023, the DoJ released an opinion stating that it is permissible to mail abortion drugs through the U.S. Mail, including to states with laws that prohibit or regulate abortion.  On February 7, 2023, twenty state attorney generals issued a letter disputing the DOJ's assessment of federal law.


Executive Memorandum

On January 22, 2023, President Joe Biden held a press conference discussing a memorandum he issued directing HHS, the DOJ, and DHS to coordinate and determine ways to ensure and expand abortion access.




December 15, 2023 - Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) introduced the "No Taxpayer Funds for Illegal Alien Abortions Act."


January 20, 2023 - Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), along with 29 co-signers, introduced the "Defund Planned Parenthood Act."


February 6, 2023 - Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) introduced the "American Values Act" to close loopholes regarding funding abortions using foreign aid. This bill will permanently ban funding abortions in the Peace Corps. 


February 7, 2023 - Sen. Eric Schmit (R-MO) and Sen Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced, with 47 co-sponsors, introduced the "No Taxpayer Abortion Act."


Heartbeat Protection Act:

January 12, 2023 - Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) reintroduced H.R. 175.

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

January 11, 2023 - The bill passed the House by a vote of 220-210.

February 1, 2023 - The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

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