Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra will be joining with Democratic lawmakers to launch a reproductive health care series this week to highlight efforts by the administration to ensure access to reproductive and contraceptive care.
The health care series will start in D.C. on Wednesday, with Becerra hosting Democratic female Congress members for a discussion on HHS’s work, The Hill can exclusively report. This series will take place ahead of the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22.
Becerra will be joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Democratic House Whip Katherine Clark (Mass.), along with Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette (Colo.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Lois Frankel (Fla.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), Valerie P. Foushee (N.C.) and Jennifer McClellan (Va.).
The secretary will travel to Richmond, Va., on Thursday for a community conversation at the Planned Parenthood East End Clinic. Becerra on Friday will then travel to Pennsylvania and Maryland to speak with students at Lincoln University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
“Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, we have seen far too many appalling stories of women suffering because of restrictive laws that prevent them from getting the care they need — whether that be a lifesaving abortion or contraception,” Becerra said in a statement.
“HHS will continue to take concrete action to protect women’s access to reproductive care, contraception, and abortion. In America, every woman should be able to access the health care they need.”
Messaging will be key for the Biden administration as it seeks to secure a second term. While the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court in 2022 emboldened voters to show up at the polls when it came to abortion access, that single issue won’t be enough to cinch a win, especially as concerns over the economy and foreign policy dominate.
And while states have been able to pass ballot measures enshrining or protecting abortion access, fights at the national level have yet to be decided. The lawsuit over the approval of mifepristone is ongoing, and the Supreme Court recently allowed Idaho’s near-total abortion ban to stay in effect. The ban would penalize doctors who perform abortions even in medical emergencies.
Still, the Biden-Harris campaign appears poised to lean on abortion access in its 2024 campaign. Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez warned what a GOP win would mean for reproductive rights during a recent press briefing with Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Freedom for All and EMILY’s List.
“As Trump proudly brags, he was the one who got rid of Roe v. Wade, paving the way for Republican extremists across the country to pass draconian bans that are hurting women and threatening doctors. Because of Donald Trump, more than one in three women of reproductive age now live under an abortion ban,” Chávez Rodriguez said.
“But it’s not just Trump. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis each have their own extreme anti-abortion records. As governors, they both signed anti-abortion bans that threatened doctors with jail time and had no exceptions for rape or incest. And they both have pledged to sign a national abortion ban as president,” she added.