Biden Supports a Federal Abortion Fund, Which Is a Great Idea

In an upcoming interview, the president says that, beyond calling on companies to cover abortion, the federal government should too.

Biden Supports a Federal Abortion Fund, Which Is a Great Idea
Photo:Anna Moneymaker (Getty Images)

Nearly four months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden has expressed support for a federal fund to cover abortion costs. According to Axios, the president will back this policy in an upcoming NowThis interview set to publish on Sunday.

Axios reported that the video includes a medical student asking the president if the federal government will take a page from companies across the country that have begun to offer insurance coverage of abortion-related costs. Biden responded: “The answer is absolutely…I do support that, and I’ve publicly urged companies to do that,” he said, adding, “I urge you to do it because there’s so many, and imagine the women who need that kind of assistance, but have no money at all to be able to do this. None. How, how—what do they do?”

Biden’s answer did not include how such a fund might be created, what it might cover, or how members of the public might access it, though Axios may only have published an abbreviated version of his response. After all, the Hyde Amendment—a federal budget rider that prohibits federal funds from covering abortion care under most circumstances—remains in effect.

Nonetheless, Biden’s support for a federal fund for abortion access is, thus far, the strongest position he’s taken on the issue. His administration has added protections for the distribution of abortion pills, and sought to require all hospitals, regardless of state law, to provide abortion care to save a pregnant person’s life, though Texas successfully sued to prevent that requirement from being implemented.

Importantly, Biden’s NowThis answer demonstrates an awareness that abortion access and the economy are inseparable. The decision to have or not have a kid is possibly the most economically consequential decision anyone could ever make, and too many people are left unable to afford abortion as an option due to the costs of travel, missed work, child care, and other services needed to cross state lines for care.

It’s not enough for abortion coverage and funding to be left to private companies, many of which have issued no shortage of caveats to what they will and won’t cover. Part-time, lower-paid, or uninsured workers and their family members—who are less likely to be able to afford abortion and associated costs without help—are being left behind, further exacerbating who can and can’t have abortions. (Plus, as Jezebel has previously highlighted, many of the companies gleefully touting their abortion coverage policies post-Roe donated in the hundreds of thousands to politicians who helped bring this outcome about.)

The private sphere isn’t a reliable source of support for abortion access, especially for those who are most likely to need help. Even if Biden isn’t able to create an actual federal fund, he might consider establishing legal protections for existing abortion funds, which are a hugely important element of our country’s reproductive health care system, especially now. Many state laws leave it all too unclear where abortion funds stand legally.

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