Washington, DC – Today, Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Co-Chairs Congresswomen Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Vice Chairs Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) released the following statements after President Joe Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum to review the Title X gag rule and reverse the global gag rule, which has harmed access to health care domestically and around the globe. The memorandum also withdraws the U.S. from the Geneva Consensus Declaration and takes steps to resume funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“Thank you, President Joe Biden, for saving lives and boosting the health of women in our country and around the world with today’s executive action,” said Rep. Frankel. “For women to reach their potential and dreams we must have access to full reproductive health care including safe, legal abortion. Today’s action by President Biden reverses the prior administration’s deadly and ineffective policies that effectively cut off even basic primary care to countless women and men, and endangered women and girls at home and abroad.”
“In the last four years, we’ve seen all-out assault on reproductive healthcare. The Mexico City Policy and Title X gag rule are downright harmful to the health of women and families at home and abroad, especially to those in low-income communities. Today, President Biden is turning the page and righting these egregious wrongs,” said Rep. Lawrence. “I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration in their efforts to support women, reproductive care, and preventative health services. Reproductive rights are human rights, and I’ll continue to defend them for women in Michigan and across the United States.”
“The Biden Administration recognizes and respects that it is women who must make reproductive health decisions for themselves, full stop. Rescinding the Global Gag Rule and taking steps to undo the Domestic Gag Rule are important first steps. These scorched-earth policies have restricted, if not eliminated, access to reproductive care for far too long. I look forward to working with President Biden and Vice President Harris on our remaining priorities to affirm reproductive health and rights and make clear to the world that basic health care is not a matter for political debate,” said Rep. Speier.
“President Biden’s executive actions on reproductive health are a victory for women’s rights in America and across the globe,” said Rep. Escobar. “The Global Gag Rule and the Domestic Gag Rule on Title X were an outrageous assault on women’s health care and ability to control their bodies and their lives. Now Congress must work to protect and expand every Americans’ right to comprehensive, quality health care and ensure these policies can’t be reinstated ever again.”
“All women have the right to make their own choices about their bodies, and the government should not interfere in that process. Instead, it is our duty to ensure that everyone is safe and free to make their own decisions. I’m glad that the Biden-Harris Administration is taking the steps to ensure that women everywhere have the resources and support needed when deciding what is best for them,” said Rep. Haaland.
The Trump Administration’s harmful Title X rule, an extension of the global gag rule, severely impacted access to health care for millions of people around the world. Undermining the Title X program by withholding federal funding from organizations that provide abortion services or referrals forced nearly 900 Title X funded clinics to leave the program. The impact left millions of Americans who rely on these facilities for preventative or primary care uncertain about their future access to health care.
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule, exacerbated this problem on a global scale. The policy forced health care providers that serve some of the most vulnerable communities around the world to refuse much-needed U.S. funding and scale back their services in order to continue to offer reproductive health care for women in need.
In December, more than 60 DWC Members wrote a letter to the then incoming Biden-Harris Administration outlining their priorities that could be addressed with executive actions. Members are excited to see this priority addressed within the first full week of the new administration and look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and Vice President Harris on other priorities, including lifting the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for the abortion medication mifepristone and rescinding regulations that limit access to contraception and condone discrimination in health care.