WASHINGTON — Today, to mark the end of the first year of the Biden-Harris administration, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund released a report, also available in Spanish, detailing the administration’s efforts to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world.
Prior to the new administration, more than 100 global and domestic advocacy organizations came together to create the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice laying out our vision for an incoming administration in 2021 and beyond.
While the administration has taken many significant steps to secure the future of our health and rights, the report also shows that there is still more to be done to ensure everyone has access to the care they need and the rights they deserve.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“As we reflect on the first year of the Biden-Harris administration, we recognize the many steps taken by the administration to advance sexual and reproductive health care and gender equity, and continue to urge them to protect the rights that remain on the line at the Supreme Court, across the country, and around the world. We look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners and this administration to ensure that sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, is at the forefront of this administration’s agenda.”
The report highlights some of the administration’s accomplishments during its first year:
Rescinding the global gag rule: Under the previous administration, the global gag rule was expanded to restrict global health programs providing contraception, maternal health care, HIV prevention and treatment, nutrition, and more. Just eight days in, the Biden-Harris administration ended four years of this harmful, neocolonialist policy and restored access to reproductive health care and information for millions.
Establishing the White House Gender Policy Council: The Biden-Harris administration established the White House Gender Policy Council and created the first-ever national strategy to advance gender equity and equality in the U.S. and abroad. The council critically recognizes health, including sexual and reproductive health, as a core pillar of achieving gender equity – it highlights the need to defend the right to abortion, end the global gag rule, and promote access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Reversing harmful rules on Title X: The Department of Health and Human Services ended the Title X gag rule, which will return access to essential health care to those who need it most. Title X is the nation’s only federal program dedicated to providing birth control, STI treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and pre-pregnancy care, and it disproportionately serves Black, Latino, and Indigenous patients, patients with low incomes, young people, and patients in rural areas.
Addressing the maternal health crisis: The Biden-Harris administration took important steps with Congress to address disparities in maternal mortality, particularly among Black women and other people of color. The administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March 2021, includes options for states to expand postpartum coverage to 12 months and the proposed Build Back Better Act would make significant investments in maternal health, development, and postpartum care. The Protecting Moms Who Served Act, which President Biden signed into law in December 2021, will help to improve maternity care coordination under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Issuing a request to eliminate Hyde from the budget: The Biden-Harris administration proposed its budget for the 2022 fiscal year without the racist and discriminatory Hyde Amendment. Hyde blocks people who use Medicaid and other federally-funded health programs from being able to access abortion care. This policy disproportionately harms people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants – groups who already have difficulty accessing health care.
Removing in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone: The FDA announced the permanent lifting of a burdensome restriction on access to mifepristone, one of the two medications used in a medication abortion. The removal of the in-person dispensing requirement is essential in the middle of a global pandemic; the in-person visit requirement was a burden for those who had trouble affording or acquiring transportation, who relied on telemedicine, who couldn’t afford time off of work, or didn’t have child care.
Appointing a diverse federal judiciary: President Biden swiftly appointed a historically diverse group of federal judges for lifetime service in our federal courts. As of December 2021, 69% of Biden appointees have been people of color and 78% have been women.
Despite this progress, with the constitutional right to an abortion at greater risk than ever before, there is much more work to be done. The one-year report calls on the Biden-Harris administration to act swiftly on key policy priorities, including:
Working with Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish a statutory right to provide and receive abortion and prohibit states from implementing out-of-touch bans and restrictions.
Urging Congress to permanently end the global gag rule, a move which has the support of 70% of Americans.The global gag rule creates fear and confusion and blocks health care providers from providing lifesaving services and information.
Protecting the right of all people — including those who use Medicaid — to seek care from their provider of choice, including abortion providers. This means the administration must enforce Medicaid law in places like Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, which currently ban its residents who use Medicaid from seeking care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Working with Congress to pass critical democracy reform legislation, including the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
Working with Congress to ensure the Title X program is fully funded, modernized, and able to meet people’s needs during this pandemic and beyond.
Continuing to take a “whole of government” approach to protect people’s access to abortion in Texas and across the country, in light of the Supreme Court’s rulings on Texas’s six-week abortion ban. While the administration’s actions thus far were welcome and needed, much more will be required in the coming year as access to abortion becomes even more difficult and every effort to ensure people can access care will be critical.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.
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 limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.