Inauguration and beyond
Today, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. His running mate, Kamala D. Harris, became the first woman, Black woman, and Asian woman to hold the office of the Vice Presidency. This monumental election took place as a global pandemic continued to surge, the economy struggled, and millions of people dealt with losing their jobs, homes, and loved ones. The election also took place alongside a global uprising for Black lives, as millions took to the streets and online to protest state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Most recently, we watched as white supremacists violently invaded the Capitol in an attempted coup spurred by the previous President. Then, we saw as 148 elected officials voted against ratifying the results of a fair and free election with unprecedented voter turnout across parties.
The 45th administration worked hard to decimate access to reproductive health care. However, thanks to decades of grassroots organizing by BIPOC activists in the South, Midwest, and Southeast – especially Black women – the House, Senate, and Presidency all now lean supportive of expanding and protecting access to reproductive health care. That said, the Biden-Harris Administration must and will be held accountable to the promises they made on the campaign trail.
To this end, the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) is a proud endorser of the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, a policy agenda set forth by over 80 organizations to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for people in the United States and across the world.
The first ask of the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice is that on Day 1, President Biden issue an Executive Order that does the following:
- Clearly and explicitly states that the Biden Administration is committed to sexual and reproductive health for everyone, including abortion care.Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to lift the FDA’s in-person requirement for obtaining mifepristone (one of the medications used in a medication abortion) for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Remove the January 23, 2017 Presidential Memorandum, which reinstated the global gag rule.
- Rescind Executive Order 13535 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Consistency with Longstanding Restrictions on the Use of Federal Funds for Abortion), which reaffirmed a commitment to the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used towards abortion care.
- Direct all executive departments and agencies to get rid of other harmful policies and regulations that deny people access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and take proactive steps to protect this care.
RHAP will continue mobilizing our clinicians and supporters to take action on Blueprint agenda items that directly affect the communities served by our clinicians, including, but not limited to: permanently removing the FDA restrictions on mifepristone; abolishing the Hyde Amendment and other abortion coverage bans; passing protective measures that expand access, such as the EACH Woman Act and the Women’s Health Protection Act; removing the restrictions on Title X funding for family planning (domestic gag rule); reinstating the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act; and passing national legislation to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity; and more. We will also continue working with legal organizations to fight against lawsuits meant to restrict and remove access to comprehensive reproductive health care.
Our vision – making reproductive health care accessible to everyone – necessitates collaboration, persistence, and a commitment to our core values during the Biden-Harris Administration and beyond. We will also have to practice introspection, mindfulness, and self-care as we tackle the challenges ahead. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we must be flexible, adaptable, and gentle with ourselves, ensuring that we support and care for each other so that our efforts are sustainable in the long run.
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