For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Washington, DC — In response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju issued the following statement:
“President Biden’s State of the Union comes at a moment when the stakes for reproductive freedom could not be higher. The constitutional right to abortion is hanging on by a thread and state lawmakers across the country are determined to eviscerate abortion access through a barrage of bans and restrictions.
It’s clear that the Biden-Harris administration recognizes that reproductive freedom is under attack and this moment requires bold action. We’re grateful that President Biden noted this pivotal moment for our movement during his address. NARAL and our 2.5 million members are ready to step up and meet this moment and we’re looking to the Biden-Harris administration to continue to champion reproductive freedom and take concrete steps to ensure that everybody has the freedom to make their own decisions about pregnancy, parenthood, and abortion care.”
Since taking office last January, the Biden-Harris administration has faced the abortion rights and access crisis head-on, working to protect and advance reproductive freedom by:
- Making clear the administration’s support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that would safeguard the right to abortion across the United States, even if Roe falls. The bill passed the House of Representatives in September 2021, but was blocked by Senate Republicans on Monday, Feb. 28.
- Nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jackson has a demonstrated record of defending and upholding our constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms—including reproductive freedom.
- Submitting a presidential budget free of the Hyde Amendment’s restriction on Medicaid coverage of abortion care for the first time in decades and excluding the Washington, DC abortion ban, which prohibits DC from using its own, locally raised funds to provide insurance coverage of abortion to people working to make ends meet in the District of Columbia.
- Allowing the FDA to follow the science and permanently lift the medically unnecessary and burdensome in-person dispensing requirement for medication abortion care, a safe and effective method for ending an early pregnancy.
- Taking executive action to rescind the global gag rule, end the domestic gag rule and modernize the Title X family planning program, roll back restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion care in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and withdraw the United States from the anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ Geneva Consensus Declaration.
- Nominating a historically diverse cabinet of leaders we can count on to safeguard people’s fundamental rights at home and abroad, including Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, who recently established the first-ever HHS Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force.
- Establishing the historic White House Gender Policy Council to advance gender equity, including by promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, which in October released the federal government’s first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.
The fate of Roe v. Wade is in the hands of the anti-choice supermajority on the Supreme Court. In the next few months, the Court is expected to rule in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case concerning Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe. If the Court upholds Mississippi’s ban, it will end the constitutional right to abortion recognized by Roe. Should Roe fall, 28 states are poised to take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 12 states already have “trigger bans” in place, which would ban abortion automatically if Roe is overturned.
Lawmakers hostile to reproductive freedom are in the midst of an assault on abortion access. Last year, over 100 restrictions on abortion access were enacted at the state level, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. The people hurt most by abortion restrictions are those who already face barriers to accessing the care they need—including women; Black, Indigenous and people of color; those working to make ends meet; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
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, pregnancy and post-partum care, 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 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.