Administration recognizes what we've always known: Sexual and reproductive health care IS health care
WASHINGTON, DC — President Biden and Vice President Harris won an election by more than 7 million votes, and have a clear mandate to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care — including abortion — in the U.S. and around the world. According to new polling, 63% of the voters who sent them to office said that politicians banning abortion and restricting access to abortion played a part in who they think should be president. Today, the administration took critical initial steps to make good on its promises with executive actions.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Today, we celebrate one of the initial steps on the path toward reclaiming full ownership over our bodies, our health, and our futures. As we continue to face down a pandemic that has claimed the lives of so many, it is more clear than ever why people need access to affordable health care, and why science — not politics — should guide policy making. Both the global gag rule and the domestic gag rule have caused immense harm, and we applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s swift action to address these dangerous policies. As President Biden and Vice President Harris right the wrongs of the past, this is only the beginning. There is far more work to be done to ensure everyone has the freedom to make their own health care decisions: from ending medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion to championing permanent repeal of the global gag rule and an end to the racist Hyde and Helms amendments. We look forward to working alongside the administration and the pro-reproductive health majority in Congress to protect and boldly expand sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people in the U.S. and across the globe.”
With today’s executive actions, the Biden-Harris administration rescinded the neocolonialist global gag rule, which prohibited foreign non-governmental organizations from receiving any U.S. global health assistance if they provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or advocate for the legalization of abortion in their country, even if these activities were supported solely with non-U.S. funds. Study after study — including from the Trump administration’s State Department — have demonstrated that this policy inflicted a crushing blow to health care access for people around the world, especially those who already face systemic barriers to care. Recent polling found that 70% of Americans support ending the global gag rule. Beyond today’s action, the administration must work with Congress to pass the Global HER Act to permanently repeal the global gag rule once and for all.
While the domestic gag rule could not be immediately ended, the administration also began this critical process by initiating a review of the Trump administration’s harmful changes to the Title X program, the nation’s only federal program dedicated to affordable birth control and other preventive sexual and reproductive health. The domestic gag rule slashed the Title X network’s patient capacity in half by forcing critical community providers like Planned Parenthood out of the program — six states no longer have any Title X providers — creating even more barriers to affordable care, including for people who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage. Because of centuries of systemic racism, homophobia, and transphobia, people who use Medicaid are disproportionately Black, Latino, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The administration also disavowed the Trump administration’s abhorrent anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ Geneva Consensus Declaration, and restored funding to UNFPA for their critical reproductive and maternal health work around the world. The administration took steps to strengthen Medicaid which is the largest payer of sexual and reproductive health coverage in the nation. The administration will also initiate a three-month open enrollment period to give millions of people the ability to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — the generation’s biggest advancement for sexual and reproductive health care, and a critical resource during a global health and economic crisis that has caused many to lose coverage when they need it most. By including these Medicaid and ACA actions alongside today’s other actions, the administration clearly acknowledged that sexual and reproductive health care should not be stigmatized, politicized, or separated — it is an essential part of the care we need to live healthy lives.
Along with a coalition of more than 100 bold, progressive organizations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda developed “First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” a detailed list of executive and agency actions on global and domestic issues that the Action Fund expects the Biden-Harris administration to continue to swiftly address.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.