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tv   HHS Secretary Becerra on Abortion Rights  CSPAN  June 28, 2022 11:09am-11:34am EDT

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items are being threatened by some phonies who come across with a holier than thou attitude , but it is ok to poison the rivers because god and the angels will clean it up. i want tax dollars to be spent with provable budgets. looking at how much money got spent by that school district to pay for this coaches and his agents phony case. >> the secretary will speak and then he will take questions. we ask you to turn off your cell phones, to state your name and media outlet when you have a question, and then the secretary may also turn to our general counsel at hhs for the department at large. if you have questions or you need help answering anything
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that comes up today or further background points, please be in touch with our press team. we do have a website that is showing on a monitor to my left and it is we just launched it ahead of today and we hope you will turn to it as well for additional information about the rights of women that exist today. thank you so much. i am honored to introduce secretary hobby airbus sarah -- secretary xavier becerra.
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sec. becerra: good morning. thanks for taking the time. on friday, june 24, five americans decided to use the vast power bestowed on them by our democracy and our constitution to unconscionably put at risk the life and health of millions of our fellow americans. they chose to unconscionably limit americans established freedoms and economy to control their own body, decisions usually made in consultation with their doctor, not a politician. they chose to strip away the fundamental health care protections that every american of childbearing age has known all of their lives. fridays supreme court decision
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was despicable, but it was not unpredictable. hhs has been preparing for this for some time. that is why earlier this year we launched our hhs reproductive access task force to prepare for every action necessary to protect women's access to reproductive health care. there is no magic bullet, but if there is something we can do we will find it and we will do it at hhs. indeed, that was the instruction i received from the president of the united states. last friday president biden announced the actions he is taking to make sure medication abortion is available to the greatest extent possible that women can travel from states where abortion is banned to states were abortion is legal.
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here is how hhs will support these issues. hhs will take steps to increase access to medication abortion. federal law requires our programs to provide medication abortion in certain circumstances, such as the life of the woman, rape, or incest. now more than ever it is important that federally important programs are complying with the law. second, i'm directing the office for civil rights within hhs to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination for patients seeking reproductive health care as well as for providers who offer that reproductive health care service. third, i'm directing the department to examine its authority under the emergency medical treatment and active labor act to ensure clinical judgment of doctors in hospitals is supported in treating pregnant patients, including
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those experiencing pregnancy loss or complications, and reaffirming that abortion care can be appropriate to stabilize patients. fourth, i'm directing all agencies in my department to work to ensure that all providers, from doctors to pharmacists to clinics have appropriate training and resources to handle family-planning needs, including administering patient referrals for care and helping patients navigate this new reality. fifth, i'm directing the senators -- the centers for medicare and medicaid service to take every legally available step to protect family-planning care, including emergency contraceptives and long acting reversible contraception such as iud's. health care is a matter to be decided by patients and their providers. as part of these efforts, we will make clear family-planning providers are able to
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participate in the medicaid program. these clinics provide safe care and have a vast expertise in providing reproductive health care. let me now tell you a little bit more about why i think medication abortion is so critical. medication abortion has been approved by the fda for years and is safer patients. it is the gold standard for care when someone who is pregnant experiences a miscarriage, which is all too real for many expectant mothers across the country. i say this as the spouse of a more than 30 year gyn. the supreme court decisions will result in worsening health outcomes and death for some patients. working to increase access to this drug is a national imperative and in the public interest. we will continue to support the fda and its rigorous scientific
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review for the safe and effective drugs. we will also work with the attorney general and the department of justice as they work to assure states may not ban medication abortion based on a disagreement with the fda expert judgment about the drug's safety and efficacy. we will issue guidance to providers to ensure they receive accurate and robust information on medication abortion. the hhs reproductive access task force will report to me on additional impactful ways to ensure appropriate information about access to and coverage for sexual and reproductive health care, as well as supporting other federal agencies. i was at a planned parenthood clinic in st. louis, missouri on friday morning when the supreme court overturned roe v. wade. i saw it in real-time the impact of this unconscionable decision.
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the clinical director had to almost immediately start turning away patients as the state ban went into effect. this clinic has stopped providing safe and legal abortion care. people in the room were physically shaken. there were tears. there was an unshakable sense of sadness. after my visit to the clinic in st. louis, i traveled a short distance across state lines to another clinic in fairview heights, illinois. the state that, unlike missouri, still has lawful abortion care. there i was at a site that help patients get care by providing assistance, ranging from helping patients find appointments to paying for travel expenses to providing abortion care. it was shocking that in the united states of america, a short drive can make such a
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draconian difference in health care outcomes. isil restrictions that leave women and fit -- i saw restrictions that leave women and families on an equal footing and widen health disparities. the impact was visible and real. this is a critical moment in our history. how we respond will speak to how we view the rights, the dignity, and the well-being of women everywhere. this is a moment of crisis in health care. at hhs we will leave no stone unturned. all options are on the table. we will do everything within our legal limit of the law to reach patients and support providers. i know we are all tired. our hearts are heavy and broken by this loss of rights and dignity. now's the time for us to continue moving forward for the many across the country who live
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now in band abortion states who lack voice and representation they need. i am prepared to take any questions you might have. >> [inaudible] sec. becerra: you will select two speaks? >> hi, bloomberg law. has hhs instructed the fda to speed up the process to get pharmacies to spend -- you also mentioned access to medication abortion. will that include sponsoring the ongoing lawsuit in mississippi, the manufacturing arguing with the fda to prevent additional restrictions? sec. becerra: medication abortion is available.
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drugs have been shown to be safe and effective. i will let the fda respond to what it will do and what it is in the process of doing. i will tell you we are working with the fda to make sure they have every opportunity to continue to provide americans with access to safe and effective treatments. we will continue to work with partners, whether public or private to make sure women have access to the reproductive care services and payments they need. >> my involvement with modern health -- maia goldman with modern health care. you mentioned your directing -- to help with patients and collaborators. can you describe what that will look like? sec. becerra: under federal law
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there is access to privacy. we will make sure that we investigate and enforce the law to make sure providers are in compliance, that patients are being provided with the care they deserve. we do not want anyone's private health information to be leaked in ways that violate federal law. we also want to make sure no one misunderstands what the supreme court's ruling on friday means. if they do not believe they have any rights whatsoever, rights continue forward, whether it is family-planning, whether it is birth control services, and we want to make sure there is no misunderstanding and we will enforce any violations of those rights. >> you have a sense of what specific actions to enforce those will look like? audits? surveys? what will that look like? sec. becerra: just as we are
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keeping every option on the table on what we can do, we will keep every option on the table for what we can do to enforce the law. >> our next question? >> thank you. -- calling for the biden administration to create clinics where people could access abortion on federal lands. are there any plans to do so and if so where would that be? would that be on national parkland? is that something you're looking at? sec. becerra: thanks. i can tell you we are aware of a number of ideas and proposals, many of which we have been considering internally ourselves. we have made no decisions yet. we would certainly have conversations with the president to make sure we implement his directives and trying to protect women's reproductive health care services. as i said, every option is on the table. we will take a look at
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everything and everything will be in compliance with the law. >> npr? >> my question is you've mentioned a bunch of health agencies. i've not heard you mention the cdc and i'm curious about the public health impact in this case. a lot of experts are morning pregnant people are going to die -- a lot of experts are warning pregnant people are going to die . what actions could the cdc be doing and what is happening on that front? sec. becerra: i'll not pretend to be able to speak eloquently for everything the cdc can do, so i know you will pose the question directly to cdc. they are in the business of prevention. they are in the business of education. we will be using every agency,
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including the cdc to make sure we are getting to americans the information they need so they can exercise their rights. the cdc will play an important role, especially as we look at this on a grander scale of the impact of public health. >> another question at this point. new york times. >> i am cheryl from new york times. with respect to medication abortion, is this the position of the department that because the fda has approved these pills that any doctor in any state may prescribe them? second, with respect to planned parenthood, you know planned parenthood has been excluded from medicaid family-planning programs in certain states, including missouri. is that the department's position that those violations are violations of federal law? sec. becerra: because those are
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precise questions i will try to give you as precise an answer as i can and with my legal counsel in front of me i want to make sure i stay within my lane. the fda has found medication abortion treatments safe and effective. in this country, in order for drugs to be made available to the american public, the fda must act to consider that drug and announce whether or not it has found it to be safe and effective. those medications that may be classified as medication abortions have received fda approval as safe and effective are therefore available for prescription.
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what i will not do in answering your question is tell you what that means. as i said before, we will stay within the confines of the law, even though it is a law i believe jeopardizes the health of women. we will stay within the confines of the law. i want to make sure whenever we tell you is within the confines of the law. medication abortion, those treatments that the fda has signed off on as safe and effective are available to beacon's -- to be prescribed. under what conditions, stay tuned. on the second question? >>'s second question was planned parenthood contends exclusion from state programs violates federal law. do you agree that violates federal law? sec. becerra: under our federal laws there are certain services that must be made available to those who are receiving care under programs administered or
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funded by the federal government. that includes abortion services under strict conditions. we will make sure that if a state is utilizing federal funds under federal programs that they respect the laws at the federal level in which in many cases include abortion care services under certain conditions. >> we take another question. rachel nichols, abc news? >> i am mary bruce with abc news. so far you seem to be receding existing policy. you just said this decision was not unpredictable. when can we expect more concrete steps to be announced. what is the hold up or are you acknowledging your hands are largely tied? sec. becerra: mary, it was a long decision. it did up and 50 years of
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precedent. you want to make sure that what you do this within the confines of the law. we are not interested in doing things just because. we wanted to make sure what we tell americans is accurate because we know americans are hearing a lot of inaccurate information. to every american who is impacted, we cannot tell you there is a silver bullet. what i am saying is the more we dig, we will do everything we can with what we find to make sure we are protecting women's reproductive health care services. it takes time because we want to do it right. >> you mentioned you are looking at possible ways to help women with transportation, women may need to travel to another state to get an abortion. what options are on the table? are you considering vouchers? how do you ensure this does not
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conflict with the hyde amendment? sec. becerra: what we believe we are able to do and have the money to do we will let you know. until then, i can simply say every option is on the table. thank you. >> one more question. the third row. >> thank you. i want to go back to the question about preemption in particular. are you in the doj thinking about filing a lawsuit that might challenge state laws banning access to medication abortion given the fda approval. as a follow-up for those were concerned about being criminalized if they go to the er, are you prepared to defend them in court? sec. becerra: we will certainly assert and defend our legal authorities. we will certainly enforce federal law.
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we will absolutely protect americans rights to care under federal law. we will do everything we can to make sure americans understand what their rights are. what exactly that translates into depends on what estate tries to do. what i can simply tell you is we will continue to try to clarify for you and the american public what their rights are, what our authorities are, in that way they know if anyone, whether a state politician or a provider in your state -- we will try to be there. it is hard to answer the questions more precisely until we know what the state is doing. if we see estate trying to deny a particular patient care in an emergency room, which could include abortion care services
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to preserve that woman's life or health, we will take action and we will do everything we can. we have to make sure americans know what their rights are. that is why this is so important because we know there is misinformation about what the supreme court did. we want to make sure it is clear americans to not lose every right they have. americans can still assert their rights and we will do everything we can to protect them. >> [inaudible] sec. becerra: we have heard cases, we have heard reports and complaints. we are going to move as aggressively as we can under the law to investigate and enforce. we have to be able to enforce based on the law. we have to make sure we collect the evidence. we are intent on protecting people's rights under the law.
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>> thank you, secretary. at this time we will conclude and we are happy to follow-up with any questions later. sec. becerra: thank you all very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> the january 6 committee holds their next public hearing later today and will present recently obtained evidence. his reported members will hear testimony from cassidy hutchison, former aide to mark meadows. will have live coverage beginning at 1:00 on c-span. you can also watch at our free video app or online at >> c-span now is a free mobile app featuring your unfiltered view of what is happening in washington, live and on-demand.
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