For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 28, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, President Joe Biden took executive action to end the global gag rule, roll back the domestic gag rule, restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and withdraw the United States from the anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ Geneva Consensus Declaration. The global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, is a harmful and discriminatory policy that prevents non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. global health assistance from using their own, private funds for abortion referrals or to provide abortion care. The Biden-Harris administration announced plans to roll back the Trump administration’s domestic gag policy that strips Title X funding from reproductive health and abortion care providers in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services must begin the work to rescind this policy immediately so that family planning providers in every community have the resources they need to resume their critical work.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“After four years of unyielding attacks on reproductive freedom by the Trump administration, we celebrate President Biden putting an end to the harmful global gag rule and rolling back the domestic gag rule. This move sends a message at home and around the world that the new Biden-Harris administration understands that reproductive freedom is central to the pursuit of equity and justice. We hope that this will be the first of many meaningful actions taken by this administration to not only undo the damage done by Trump and Republican lawmakers but to expand reproductive freedom at a time when Roe v. Wade and abortion access face unprecedented threats.”
In one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump announced a further expansion of the global gag rule from previous iterations implemented under Republican administrations. This move was the beginning of the Trump administration’s four-year-long effort to undermine reproductive freedom and to roll back our fundamental rights. Research has shown that the global gag rule prevents people from accessing a wide range of critical health information and healthcare they need and want. The reduced effectiveness of global health assistance as a result of the policy puts the lives of women, girls, LGBTQI+ people, BIPOC people, and other groups who face systemic barriers to care at risk. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, this draconian policy exacerbates global health challenges.
President Biden also took several actions to roll back other harmful Trump-era policies with global impact including ending the United States’ involvement in the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD). The GCD is an attempt from the Trump administration to undermine international consensus around sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Additionally, President Biden restored U.S. funding to UNFPA, which plays a critical role as the largest multilateral provider of family planning and reproductive health services with operations in more than 155 countries. Republican administrations and members of Congress often target the U.S contribution to UNFPA and the Trump administration took things further than any previous administration by cutting off all funding to the agency.
In addition to the unprecedented breadth of the Trump administration’s global gag rule and global anti-choice agenda, the Trump administration also implemented a sweeping domestic gag policy that stripped Title X Family Planning Program funding from healthcare providers who—in addition to other services—provide abortion care or referrals for abortion care.
While the Biden-Harris administration’s actions today undoubtedly expand reproductive freedom, it’s critical that this administration demonstrate its commitment to protecting and expanding access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare—including abortion care—and upholding sexual and reproductive rights in the United States and around the world by:
- Expanding access to reproductive healthcare by removing harmful and medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion care during COVID-19;
- Initiating a comprehensive FDA review of medication abortion — a safe, effective, FDA-approved option for ending an early pregnancy — so that people’s access to care reflects science, not politics;
- Rescinding Trump’s other executive actions that limit access to care, including refusals of healthcare and attacks on contraception coverage;
- Ensuring that the president’s budget advances reproductive freedom and excludes discriminatory restrictions on abortion coverage like the Hyde and Helms amendments;
- Nominating and appointing judges and executive branch officials with positive records on reproductive freedom, health, rights, and justice.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.