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Reproductive Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic has given a big boost to methods of bringing health care to people remotely, known as "telemedicine." If there's a lethal contagion going around, a doctor's office is one obvious place to avoid, if at all possible, and virtual visits make that option more feasible.

So, last year, the federal government took steps to spare Americans from risking their health in pursuit of treatment. The Department of Health and Human Services allowed Medicare to cover more remote services while letting physicians prescribe controlled substances without examining the patient in the flesh.

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Xavier Becerra

Photo by Knight Foundation/ CC BY-SA 2.0

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Xavier Becerra, currently California's attorney general, to be his head of Health and Human Services. While much of Becerra's work at HHS will focus on the pandemic, his nomination represents an opportunity to restore reproductive health and abortion rights.

Much of the discussion of the future of abortion is focused on the Supreme Court, thanks to the 6-3 majority of hardline anti-abortion justices. However, there are regulatory steps that Becerra would be able to take that can help increase access to abortion, even as Roe v. Wade is attacked in the courts.

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