Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, pictured at a hearing on September 30, said the Biden administration plans to "double down" on protecting the reproductive healthcare of women. File Photo by Greg Nash/UPI | License Photo
May 4 (UPI) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Wednesday the Biden administration plans to "double down" to ensure women receive reproductive healthcare to which they're entitled days after a leak suggested the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
He made the comments during a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to discuss the HHS' budget. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., asked Becerra what the HHS' Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force was doing to ensure access to reproductive health.
On Monday, a draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that made abortion legal was published by Politico. The ruling, while confirmed as authentic, hasn't been made official, but the ramification of such a decision has put abortion-rights activists on alert.
"We are going to double down on the effort to make sure that the legal rights of all Americans, women to access the care that they're entitled to continues forward," Becerra said. "I yesterday had an opportunity to address a number of representatives of many of the insurance plans, health insurance plans in America, and made it very clear that we intend to continue to enforce the law.
"We will also make it clear what the law requires of anyone who accepts federal funding through Medicare, Medicaid to provide services to all Americans without discrimination. As I said, we're gonna double down and make sure no one goes without the care they're entitled to."
Becerra's comments come as Democrats in Congress began working on legislation to codify legalized abortion into federal law, despite the fact that it's virtually assured they won't have the votes to get it to President Joe Biden's desk.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Wednesday that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade, if it becomes official, would be "devastating" for women's health.
"Reproductive healthcare is under attack at every angle, and we need to be doing everything we can to protect it," she said.
Murray called for a "pro-choice majority in the Senate" and for protection of the majority in the House.
"We need to send President Biden a bill that will protect every woman's right to an abortion -- and we are going to keep pushing to make it happen," she tweeted Tuesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., joins abortion rights activists Tuesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the leak of a draft majority opinion suggesting the court would overturn Roe vs. Wade later this year. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo