Biden’s executive order on abortion is better than nothing. But not much better

The president boasted his administration would use ‘every tool available’ to secure abortion access. So why is his order so lacking?

Moira Donegan
Sun 10 Jul 2022

Probably the most enthusiastic assessment that an abortion rights advocate can make for President Biden’s executive order that aims to “protect access to reproductive health services” is that it’s better than nothing. That’s because the order, signed by Biden in a brief ceremony at the White House on Friday as vice-president Harris and secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra looked on, has been spoken of by the White House in only the vaguest terms. The order consists of a series of directives aimed at HHS and the justice department, but these directives are imprecisely worded. They create few obligations for these agencies; they appear designed not to ruffle any feathers. It’s unclear what, precisely, the order will mean for abortion access, and specifically what actions those agencies will now be required to take.