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  The White House Gender Policy Council’s strategy will include key measures to protect access to abortion 

WASHINGTON — Today, the Biden-Harris administration announced the first-ever national  strategy to advance gender equity and equality in the U.S. and around the world. The White House Gender Policy Council will manage the comprehensive effort that requires actions from various agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of State (DOS). The strategy identifies health as one of the ten interconnected policy priorities. Within that category, it names defending “the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion in the United States, established in Roe v. Wade, and promote access to sexual and reproductive health and rights both at home and abroad.” It also mentions key sexual and reproductive health and rights priorities, such as ending the Hyde Amendment, ending the global gag rule, ensuring access to a provider of choice, and investing in and championing comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education in the U.S. and around the world.

This announcement comes as attacks to access sexual and reproductive health care are multiplying, including abortion currently banned in Texas at six weeks of pregnancy. In December, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This decision could render Roe v. Wade meaningless, stripping abortion access from nearly half of the women of reproductive age (18-49) in the U.S. — more than 36 million women and even more people who can become pregnant. U.S. policies like the global gag rule and the Helms amendment continue to disrupt access to health care services, including abortion in countries where it is legal. Globally, countries are moving towards increasing access to abortion, with countries like Argentina, Benin, Mexico, and Ireland moving to liberalize their laws on abortion.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

A core component of gender equity is reproductive freedom, but right now, the right to access safe, legal abortion is hanging by a thread. Today’s announcement from the White House is a welcome and important reminder that issues of gender and sexual and reproductive health cannot be siloed and must be part of a comprehensive approach to improving the lives of all people — no matter where you live. We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris administration is continuing to put these issues at the forefront and is prepared to use all the levers of the federal government to put gender equity front and center in health care, housing, economic opportunities, foreign policy, and more. We look forward to working with the Gender Policy Council and federal agencies to implement the new mandate.

In December 2020, along with a coalition of more than 100 bold, progressive organizations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda developed “First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” a detailed list of executive and agency actions on global and domestic issues that Planned Parenthood expects the Biden-Harris administration to continue to swiftly address.

Since then, the administration has implemented several of the most important items on our list, including:

  • Repealing the global gag rule;
  • Announcing the end of the Title X gag rule;
  • Issuing a budget proposal without the Hyde amendment;
  • Ending onerous billing requirements for abortion coverage;
  • Restoring funding to UNFPA;
  • Resuming reproductive rights reporting in the State Department’s annual country reports on human rights;
  • Taking steps to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;
  • Stopping the former administration’s “public charge” rule;
  • Starting the process to reinstate DACA provisions;
  • Defending the right to abortion in federal court through the Department of Justice; and
  • Appointing health care and reproductive rights champions to key roles.

The strategy explicitly includes directives to work towards: 

  • Protecting the right of people, including people who use Medicaid, to seek care from the provider of their choice, including abortion providers;
  • Pushing Congress to end the racist and discriminatory Hyde and related restrictions;
  • Enforcing the women’s health preventive services benefit under the Affordable Care Act to ensure that everyone has affordable access to the birth control method of their choice;
  • Ending the harmful global gag rule that restricts access to critical health information and services around the world; and
  • Championing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally by promoting SRHR across UN and multilateral forums.

In order to immediately implement the strategy, all components of the Biden-Harris administration should continue to issue policies that support access to sexual and reproductive health care, including:

  • Using the authority of the federal government to ensure that all people within the custody and control of the federal government have comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion;
  • Eliminating religious exemptions that allow providers and federal grantees to discriminate against women and LGBTQ+ people;
  • Working to mitigate the harm of and support the elimination of the Helms amendment;
  • Prioritizing and integrating SRHR across U.S. foreign policy; and
  • Clarifying that PEPFAR funds can be used to pay for contraceptive commodities as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and to ensure individuals living with and at risk for HIV have access to a full range of voluntary contraception options as part of an integrated approach to meet the needs of adolescent girls and young women.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.