When they were sworn in, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris promised to strengthen the federal pandemic response, overturn the harmful policies of the previous administration, and advance our health and rights. Here’s what they’ve delivered.
President Biden and Vice President Harris just crossed the 100-day mark! It’s been exciting to watch Biden revoke dozens of harmful policies put in place by his predecessor. Did you know Biden set first-100-day records for executive actions AND reversals of previous administrations’ actions? It’s true, and it’s a sign that the country is on the right track — even though there’s still more work to do.
Tell the Biden-Harris Administration to Repeal the Destructive Title X Gag RuleACT NOW
Let’s celebrate the top six ways Biden and Harris have worked to address the ongoing pandemic and reverse the harm done to health care access over the last four years.
1. Passed a COVID-19 Relief Package and Implemented a Response Plan
In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act — a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that provides direct financial relief to individuals and families; invests in child care; funds global health and humanitarian programs; and supports sexual and reproductive health care, including funding for Title X and incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
During a global pandemic, when access to health care is more critical than ever, the American Rescue Plan Act delivers health and economic relief to the people in the U.S. and around the world who need it most. Access to sexual and reproductive health care is inextricably tied to health and safety during the pandemic, and the American Rescue Plan recognizes that.
Released a national strategy plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan lays out steps to address inequity, increase testing and vaccinations, and slow the spread of COVID-19 — as well as respond to the secondary impacts of the pandemic, including on sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. More than 230 million COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered in the United States.
Reduced health care premiums for millions of people through health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reopened enrollment for ACA plans so people have more time to get health care insurance.
Had the United States rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), signaling a commitment to a global COVID-19 response and international coordination.
2. Reduced Medically Unnecessary Federal Restrictions on Medication Abortion
Following science and evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone — a medication used for abortion and miscarriage care — for the duration of the pandemic. This is a critical first step toward ending the harmful, medically unnecessary barriers to care that the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) put on users of medication abortion. REMS was especially harmful to people of color, people living in remote and rural areas, and people with low incomes.
For the remainder of the public health emergency, in states where legal, eligible patients may be able to access medication abortion without having to visit a heath center.
3. Increased Global Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care
Just nine days into his presidency, Biden:
Restored funding to UNFPA for its critical reproductive and maternal health work around the world
Declared that the United States supports sexual and reproductive health and rights at home and around the world
Committed to restore comprehensive reporting on reproductive rights in the State Department’s annual country reports on human rights
4. Issued Protections for Different Gender Identities
The president issued an executive order with bold LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections that starts the process to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in health care, housing, and education.
The Biden-Harris administration also established a White House Gender Policy Council — which expands the mission of previous policy councils to include both domestic and foreign policy, as well as account for the distinct inequities that intersex, transgender, and nonbinary people can face.
5. Lifted the Muslim Ban
Biden reversed the anti-Muslim travel ban, which kept thousands of immediate family members — including parents, children, and spouses — in banned countries from joining their relatives who already live in the United States.
6. Appointed Reproductive Health Champions
The Biden-Harris administration has appointed numerous individuals with experience and expertise in advancing sexual and reproductive health care and reproductive justice to key roles across federal agencies.
A few of the reproductive health champions who have been confirmed to lead Biden’s administration:
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra
As HHS Secretary, Becerra is charged with protecting the health of all Americans and overseeing the nation’s public health policy. His record fighting for sexual and reproductive health care means he will be a critical force to advance health equity and sexual and reproductive health care across the country.
HHS Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine
Dr. Levine just made history as the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. In her role assisting and advising the secretary of health, Dr. Levine stands ready to help roll back policies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Secretary Blinken has proudly declared that “Women’s rights — including sexual and reproductive rights — are human rights." He is well-positioned to ensure U.S. foreign policy reflects that value.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is only the second Black woman to serve as the lead diplomat for the U.S. at the UN and has already used her platform to speak out about the importance of access to sexual and reproductive health services, LGBTQ+ rights, and racial justice.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta
Biden said Gupta has spent her career "fighting to advance racial equity and justice." Gupta is the first civil rights attorney and first woman of color to serve as associate attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. In this role, her duties include oversight of the department's civil rights litigation.
Biden's Cabinet nominees are 46% women and nearly 55% people of color — that’s more women and people of color represented than in any previous cabinet.
Bonus: Moving to End the Title X Gag Rule and Harmful Abortion Restrictions
The Biden-Harris administration’s steps toward emphasizing health equity, undoing the harm of the past four years, and supporting sexual and reproductive health care are a promising start. Yet access to health care often comes with undue burdens — particularly for communities of color, those with low incomes, those living in areas that are medically underserved or are otherwise systemically disenfranchised, and LGBTQ+ people.
Sexual and reproductive health care, as well as access to timely health care, remain out of reach for too many people.
That’s why the administration must continue working to improve the health and lives of all people, and create a world where reproductive freedom is a reality for all. Planned Parenthood is ready to join the administration and Congress in pushing for bolder policies every step of the way.
For instance, HHS has proposed regulations to end the Title X gag rule.
Background on Title X:
Title X is the nation’s only federally funded program focused on family planning.
The Title X program provides sexual and reproductive health care — such as birth control, STI testing, and cancer screenings — on a sliding scale to people with low incomes and those who are uninsured.
Due to systemic racism and the income inequality it brings, the Title X program disproportionately serves Black and Latino patients.
Former President Trump’s gag rule undermined Title X:
The gag rule prevented providers in Title X from maintaining the integrity of the patient-provider relationship.
The Title X gag rule did this by, among other things, censoring clinicians and stopping patients from receiving a full range of counseling and referrals for abortion — even when they request the information, and even though the program has never paid for abortion services.
This dangerous gag rule slashed the Title X network’s capacity in half, at the expense of patients the Title X network has always been meant to serve: those who need and deserve affordable health care and choices, regardless of where they live or what’s in their wallet.
But now, until May 17, we have the opportunity to tell the new administration what we need from a truly equitable and inclusive program — by rescinding the gag rule and making sure the program reflects our values.
Tell the Administration: Repeal the Destructive Title X Gag Rule!
It’s time to end the dangerous rule that makes health care more difficult to access for patients with low incomes.