Statement on the Biden Administration’s Executive Orders on Reproductive Health Care

Advocates for Youth applauds the Biden-Harris administration for prioritizing reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice in their First 10 Days, but urges even further actions to expand access to care for young people, LGBTQ and BIPOC communities moving forward. Today’s Presidential Memorandum is a needed first step in undoing the harms of the previous administration’s dangerous and restrictive policies – it is necessary and impactful. We are pleased to see the administration revoke the Global Gag Rule, take steps to strengthen Medicaid, and start the process to rescind the domestic gag rule and other harmful regulations on Title X, the federal program that provides crucial reproductive and sexual health services to young people and low-income communities. 

“The actions by the Biden Administration to rescind the global gag rule and begin undoing the damage to Title X are welcome, but they’re just the first of what must be many steps toward ensuring young people’s reproductive health, rights, and justice. We need to see a committment to ending Helms and Hyde amendments, so that lower income folks have access to abortion. We need Congress to pass bills that would expand abortion access and prevent further ‘bans by executive order.’ And we all need to be able to talk about abortion care without further stigmatizing people who have had abortions. Young people were key to Biden’s victory, and now they demand to see real progress.” – Debra Hauser, President, Advocates for Youth

The Biden-Harris administration must undo the harm of long standing policies AND expand access to sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. Today’s Presidential Memorandum is only the first step. We look to the administration to continue this work by reviewing unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion that exposes patients to needless risk during the pandemic; issuing a budget proposal to end the discriminatory and racist Hyde, Weldon, and Helms amendments to expand access to abortion for people with low incomes, as well as finally repealing harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage funding. Additionally, in order to make sure that no future President can ever reinstate the Global Gag Rule, Congress must pass the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act introduced today in the House and Senate.

We also look to the administration to be bold in their actions and to not further stigmatize reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice by being vague in their stances. This means continually openly saying the word “abortion”, and fully acknowledging that young people, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities face disproprotionate barriers in accessing care. 

Young people are looking at their lawmakers to pass policies that ensure abortion access for all, expand access to affordable healthcare, and truly commit to racial justice. We continue to call on the Biden-Harris administration to listen to young activists on the ground about what they truly need for their reproductive and sexual health, to move this country forward and take further action (as laid out in the Blueprint: First Priorities and Blueprint: Policy Agenda). 

As we course-correct and reimagine our futures, young people are looking to this administration and congress to live up to the progressive values they promised. Today’s Presidential Memorandum is a welcome first step to save lives and improve access, and while we are pleased to see it, we also look forward to seeing more done.