President Biden Issues Executive Order on Abortion

The president’s order

By Stacy M. Brown

The president’s order
The president’s order seeks to help by safeguarding the privacy of patients and their information. / Photo Credit: The White House on Instagram

With intense pressure from Democrats and constituents nationwide, President Biden signed an executive order attempting to ensure access to contraception and protect abortion services.

Biden said he’s ordering U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to take action to safeguard access to abortion care and emergency medical assistance.

Biden said he’s asked Becerra to increase outreach and public education efforts, and to engage private attorneys to represent patients.

He wants Becerra to report back to the White House within a month.

Protests and outcry have dominated the political sphere since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, triggering immediate bans on abortion in some states.

Biden has said he’s without authority to do anything about trying to reverse the high court’s decision.

He previously noted that an executive order would fall short of any meaningful impact on the ruling.

“No executive action from the president can do that,” Biden said last month when asking Congress to codify Roe v. Wade.

However, the president’s order seeks to help by safeguarding the privacy of patients and their information.

According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, Biden’s order “takes additional steps to protect patient privacy, including by addressing the transfer and sales of sensitive health-related data, combatting digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services, and protecting people seeking reproductive health care from inaccurate information, fraudulent schemes, or deceptive practices.”

The fact sheet noted that the order would:

  • Protect Consumers from Privacy Violations and Fraudulent and Deceptive Practices.
  • The President has asked the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking steps to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive health care services.
  • The President also has directed the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with the Attorney General and Chair of the FTC, to consider options to address deceptive or fraudulent practices, including online, and protect access to accurate information.
  • Protect Sensitive Health Information.

HHS will consider additional actions, including under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to better protect sensitive information related to reproductive health care.

The Secretary of HHS has already directed the HHS Office for Civil Rights to take initial steps to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination of patients, as well as providers who provide reproductive health care, including by:

  • Issuing new guidance to address how the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of individuals’ protected health information, including information related to reproductive health care.
  • The guidance helps ensure doctors and other medical providers and health plans know that, with limited exceptions, they are not required – and in many cases, are not permitted – to disclose patients’ private information, including to law enforcement.

Issuing a how-to guide for consumers on steps they can take to make sure they’re protecting their personal data on mobile apps, the White House said.

The Executive Order addresses the heightened risk related to seeking and providing reproductive health care and would:

  • Protect Patients, Providers, and Clinics.
  • The Administration will ensure the safety of patients, providers, and third parties, and to protect the security of other entities that are providing, dispensing, or delivering reproductive health care services.
  • This charge includes efforts to protect mobile clinics, which have been deployed to borders to offer care for out-of-state patients.

To ensure the Federal government takes a swift and coordinated approach to addressing reproductive rights and protecting access to reproductive health care, the President’s Executive Order would:

  • Establish an Interagency Task Force.
  • The President has directed HHS and the White House Gender Policy Council to establish and lead an interagency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access, responsible for coordinating Federal interagency policymaking and program development.
  • This Task Force will also include the Attorney General.  In addition, the Attorney General will provide technical assistance to states affording legal protection to out-of-state patients as well as providers who offer legal reproductive health care.

Rep. Barbara Lee Issues Statement on 2nd Anniversary of George Floyd, Applauds Executive Order on Policing

Rep. Barbara Lee Issues Statement on 2nd Anniversary of George Floyd
Rep. Barbara Lee Issues Statement on 2nd Anniversary of George Floyd

NNPA Newswire/BlackPressUSA
By Oakland Post

Rep. Barbara Lee issued the following statement Wednesday on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and in response to a new Executive Order on policing issued by President Biden:

“Two years ago, George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of law enforcement swept the nation. His life was taken from him by a broken, racist criminal justice system. While his death catalyzed protests across the country, real systemic change has largely been out of reach.

“Hundreds of others have been the victims of racial profiling in the years since, some losing their lives, some making the news, other cases not getting the attention they warranted. On this painful anniversary, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with George’s family and community.

“Today, President Biden made progress in repairing the broken system that led to George’s death with a historic Executive Order to combat police brutality. I commend the president for taking action to promote accountability, raise standards, increase transparency, and reform the criminal justice system.

“However, this EO alone is not enough. State and local police departments must follow. The Senate must find the political will to abolish the filibuster and pass meaningful police accountability legislation. Black lives and the fate of this nation depend on it.”

Read the full text of the executive order here.

The post Rep. Barbara Lee Issues Statement on 2nd Anniversary of George Floyd, Applauds Executive Order on Policing first appeared on Post News GroupThis article originally appeared in Post News Group.

TO BE EQUAL: Biden’s Executive Order on Policing a Necessary Step Forward

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden signs an executive order on police reform in the East Room of the White House on May 25, 2022, the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

By Marc Morial

“Our criminal justice system must respect the dignity and rights of all persons and adhere to our fundamental obligation to ensure fair and impartial justice for all. This is imperative — not only to live up to our principles as a Nation, but also to build secure, safe, and healthy communities. Protecting public safety requires close partnerships between law enforcement and the communities it serves. Public safety therefore depends on public trust, and public trust in turn requires that our criminal justice system as a whole embodies fair and equal treatment, transparency, and accountability.” – President Biden, Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety

In the two years since Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, police have killed more than 2,000 people in the United States – even more in 2021 than in 2020. Black Americans remain nearly three times as likely as whites to be killed by police.

Yet many in Congress still refuse to act.

President Biden’s executive order on policing, issued on the anniversary of Floyds murder, incorporates several elements of 21 Pillars for Redefining Public Safety and Restoring Community Trust, the National Urban League’s own plan for enhancing public safety and restoring trust between communities and law enforcement.

The executive order, which directly impacts about 100,000 Federal law enforcement officers, sets forth a model for state and local law enforcement agencies and uses carrots and sticks and incentives to encourage those agencies to make the same kind of reforms. It represents a measure of meaningful change and a critical acknowledgment of the pervasive systemic racism that has shattered the trust between police and communities of color.

But it is no substitute for the broad federal legislation we have sought, or for the full implementation of our 21 Pillars in every community across the nation.

On June 9, I’ll join Gwen Grant, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, for the latest stop in our 21 Pillars Tour, which already has included events in Louisville, Kentucky, Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois.

In each of these cities, trust between the police and the communities they serve was broken. In Louisville, the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in a botched raid escaped consequences after prosecutors misled a grand jury. In Columbus, police used physical violence, tear gas and pepper spray against peaceful protesters without provocation in what a federal judge called “the sad tale of officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok.” A recent study of Chicago Police found that their misconduct is a group phenomenon, involving more than 1,000 “deviant, even criminal” officers, that inflict outsized harm in communities of color. And in Kansas City, officers are accused of excessive and deadly force against Black and Brown Kansas Citians, constitutional violations, and discriminatory patterns and practices.

The 21 Pillars centers on five key themes that are fundamental to the protection and preservation of life, dignity, trust, and safer communities: collaboration, accountability, changing divisive policies, transparency, and elevated standards for hiring and training police. The Tour is aimed at familiarizing communities with the plan’s objectives, amplify the issues and concerns relevant in each city, and advocate for policy solutions.

With the incorporation of several elements of the 21 Pillars into President Biden’s executive order, the plan already is having an impact. Key provisions of the order include:

  • Bans on chokeholds and carotid restraints by federal law enforcement officers except where deadly force is authorized. (Pillar 10)
  • New federal standards and training for use of force. (Pillars 4, 9, and 20)
  • Restrictions on the use of no-knock entries by federal law enforcement officers. (Pillar 10)
  • Creation of national law enforcement accountability database. (Pillar 14)
  • Requirement for the use and activation of body-worn cameras by federal officers, and policies that provide for expedited release of footage. (Pillar 15)
  • New models and federal funding available to innovate new responses to persons in crisis, as an alternative to police intervention (Pillars 4, 9, and 21)
  • Restrictions on the transfer of the weapons of war to police departments (Pillar 12)
  • New screening and training tools to counter bias, and strengthen investigations of law enforcement agencies that violate civil rights … so that all persons can have faith and confidence in the equity and fairness of the criminal justice system (Pillars 18, 19, 20, and 21)

Social parity, economic empowerment, and civil rights cannot be achieved in a world of unjust policing, President Biden’s Executive Order, guided by the principles outlined in 21 Pillars, can be the basis for safer, more effective, and community-centered law enforcement across the nation.”

Marc H. Morial is the President and CEO of the National Urban League.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asks court to block Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates

Governor Greg Abbott

By Charles Scudder

Governor Greg Abbott
Governor Greg Abbott, photographed in Dallas Sept. 24, 2020, has issued an executive order banning mask mandates from governments and schools in the state. (Juan Figueroa/ The Dallas Morning News)(Juan Figueroa / Staff photographer)

This story has been updated throughout.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Monday asked a court to block Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, arguing that the Republican governor’s executive order violates state law.

The counterclaim is in response to a suit between Jenkins, a Democrat, and Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch, a Republican, over a mask mandate at Commissioners Court meetings. It names Abbott as a counter-defendant, and requests that a judge file an order to stop enforcement of the governor’s July executive orders that prevent local governments from enacting mask mandates.

It also asks that Jenkins be allowed to take measures to manage the pandemic, including mandating masks. Jenkins’ request for declaratory judgment and a temporary restraining order come as COVID-19 delta cases soar nationally and local hospital emergency departments become overrun with patients.

“Within a matter of days, schools will be starting back up, and young children, who are increasingly at risk to the Delta Variant and who are ineligible for any of the vaccines, will be indoors,” Jenkins’ filing claims. “This is a recipe for exploding community transmission of the Delta Variant as it races through the schools and children take it home to their families.”

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to questions about Jenkins’ claim.

The document, obtained by The Dallas Morning News, was filed electronically late Monday but had not been stamped as filed by the district clerk’s office.

“Governor Abbott’s overreach could not happen at a worse time,” according to Jenkins’ claim. “Texas lags behind most states in vaccinations and has had among the highest total number of cases of coronavirus transmission. The pandemic is an imminent threat to public safety.”

Abbott issued his executive order after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mask-wearing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors. Those who defy his mandate could face a fine of up to $1,000.

The governor’s executive order also bans schools from requiring masks, but many districts are fighting back.

On Monday, Dallas ISD said it would require masks as part of another effort to challenge Abbott’s ban, and the state’s largest school district, Houston ISD, said it would consider a similar measure.

In a release announcing 796 new cases and three deaths Monday, Jenkins praised the decision from Dallas ISD.

“I think what you’ll see, and I hope what you’ll see, is more local leaders in government, schools, hospitals and businesses standing up to follow the science and protect public health,” Jenkins said. “The enemy is not each other. The enemy is the virus, and this is about saving lives.”

A Dallas County judge previously rejected Koch’s request for a temporary restraining order against Jenkins’ mask mandate in the courtroom, saying there was no harm done by requiring the commissioner to wear a face covering at a meeting last week. Jenkins makes clear in his counterclaim that he sees Abbott’s measure as causing serious damage.

“These injuries are irreparable and there is no adequate remedy at law because nothing a court can do at a later date can change the infections, spread, illness and death that will in all certainty occur at greater numbers,” according to the court filing. “The harm is ongoing and it is serious. Lives are at stake.”

Abbott on Monday also ordered out-of-state help to provide extra staffing for health care facilities as they grapple with the rise in COVID cases. He’s also asked the Texas Hospital Association to tell hospitals to delay elective surgeries to make room for a surge in COVID patients. Additionally, the governor is calling for more COVID antibody infusion centers to open across the state to treat patients who do not need to be hospitalized and to increase vaccine availability.

Jenkins said Monday that only 14 ICU beds are left countywide. The last time Dallas ICUs were this full was Feb. 16, according to the county.

“Without one of the few tools we have to fight the deadly virus, Judge Jenkins is being prevented from fulfilling his legislatively delegated duty to address this pandemic disaster which is getting worse,” according to his claim.

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