For Immediate Release: Friday, October 22, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the White House Gender Policy Council released the federal government’s first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, a national strategy to advance gender equity and equality in the United States and abroad. In the strategy, the Council emphasizes that people in the United States have faced a growing number of obstacles to and restrictions on access to abortion care, including Texas’ vigilante-enforced ban on abortion (SB 8) that remains in effect.
NARAL Pro-Choice Acting America President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement in response:
“We are pleased to see the White House Gender Policy Council make this historic commitment to gender equity and ensuring reproductive freedom. The National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality sends a clear message that this administration will not tolerate attacks on our most fundamental freedoms, including the right to abortion.
We are in a moment of crisis with the future of reproductive freedom and abortion access at stake for all of us. It’s incumbent upon each and every one of our leaders—from the White House to statehouses— to uphold and safeguard our freedom to make our own decisions about our lives and futures.”
The National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality released today includes commitments to advance reproductive freedom at home and abroad, including by using all available levers to protect the right to abortion, ending bans on abortion coverage like the Hyde Amendment, permanently ending the harmful global gag rule, and much more.
In March, on International Women’s Day, President Joe Biden signed an executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council within the Executive Office of the President. The Council is charged with coordinating efforts to advance gender equity across the federal government with specific attention to increasing access to comprehensive healthcare, addressing health disparities, and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The release of this strategy comes at a moment when reproductive freedom is under attack like never before. Just last month, Texas’ SB 8 went into effect, banning abortion before many people even know they are pregnant and creating a vigilante-enforcement scheme that rewards abortion bounty hunting in the state. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block this flagrantly unconstitutional law, effectively rendering Roe v. Wade meaningless in Texas. It is impossible to overstate the impact of this abortion ban when 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the United States live in Texas. In addition to blocking access to care in Texas, SB 8 is serving as a blueprint for anti-choice lawmakers across the country to attack reproductive freedom. Politicians hostile to reproductive freedom in at least 12 states have signaled their intention to pursue copycat legislation.
Texas’ SB 8 is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access across the country. This draconian ban on abortion is one of 106 restrictions on abortion access that have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided.
In the midst of unyielding attacks on abortion access in states across the country, the Supreme Court announced in May that it will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case challenging Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and threatens the legal right to abortion. Oral arguments in this case are scheduled for December 1.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—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 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.