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Biden got the vote of abortion rights advocates

Biden got the vote of abortion rights advocates. Getting the results will be harder.

Allowing federal funds to flow again to international groups that provide or refer patients for abortion services is the easy part of President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump administration policies on reproductive health issues.

Biden did that with a stroke of a pen Thursday. 

Undoing restrictions on U.S. clinics that provide abortion counselling or services will take more time, as would changing when employers can decline to include birth control in workers’ health care plans.

Passing legislation to codify the right to an abortion and allowing low-income women to get government-funded abortions – which Biden backed during his presidential campaign – face roadblocks in a closely divided Congress.

Biden’s promise to appoint federal judges who support the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights is a long-term effort that may not be as successful as President Donald Trump’s judicial accomplishments. 

Advocates are eager for action, particularly after women played a crucial role in Biden’s victory. If only men had voted, Trump would have won.

We really are pushing this administration, not just to undo the harm of the Trump administration but to move us forward in really important ways,” said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center.

Biden, who took a more expansive position on reproductive health issues during the campaign than he had in the past, frames his views in the context of one of his top priorities: creating a more equitable society for people of colour and other marginalized groups.

Biden got the vote of abortion rights advocates. Getting the results will be harder.
Maureen Groppe
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Allowing federal funds to flow again to international groups that provide or refer patients for abortion services is the easy part of President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump administration policies on reproductive health issues.

Biden did that with a stroke of a pen Thursday.

Undoing restrictions on U.S. clinics that provide abortion counselling or services will take more time, as would changing when employers can decline to include birth control in workers’ health care plans.

Passing legislation to codify the right to an abortion and allowing low-income women to get government-funded abortions – which Biden backed during his presidential campaign – face roadblocks in a closely divided Congress.

Abortion rights activists rally at the Supreme Court in Washington on May 21, 2019.
Biden’s promise to appoint federal judges who support the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights is a long-term effort that may not be as successful as President Donald Trump’s judicial accomplishments.

Advocates are eager for action, particularly after women played a crucial role in Biden’s victory. If only men had voted, Trump would have won.

“We really are pushing this administration, not just to undo the harm of the Trump administration but to move us forward in really important ways,” said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center.

Biden, who took a more expansive position on reproductive health issues during the campaign than he had in the past, frames his views in the context of one of his top priorities: creating a more equitable society for people of colour and other marginalized groups.

“We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status,” Biden said in a joint statement with Vice President Kamala Harris recognizing the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade last week.

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Biden’s emphasis is appropriate, said Amanda Roberti, a political science professor at San Francisco State University who studies reproductive justice issues.

“When we look at the communities that are most affected by restrictive reproductive policies, you’re talking about the most marginalized communities,” she said.

Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser, told the World Health Organization last week that the United States would revoke the Mexico City Policy – which blocked funding to groups that include abortion services or information in their family planning programs – as part of a “broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

Trump restored and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which was started by the Reagan administration and has been turned off and on again, depending on whether a Democrat or Republican held the White House.

Title X funding

In addition to signing an order rescinding that policy Thursday, Biden began the process of undoing a similar restriction on domestic groups.

Trump effectively blocked clinics from receiving federal family planning grants through Title X if they offered abortion services with other funds. Trump changed the rules on counselling, including barring referrals for abortion services. Since those changes, about one-quarter of clinics and other providers that had received federal grants to help the uninsured or low-income patients no longer participate, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

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