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Letter to President Biden: Uplift Reproductive Justice to Strengthen the State of Our Union

Letter to President Biden: Uplift Reproductive Justice to Strengthen the State of Our Union

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

January 31, 2024

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As you prepare to address a Joint Session of Congress on March 7, we write to urge you to emphasize, prioritize, and amplify policy issues related to Reproductive Justice—an issue that is more critical than ever in strengthening the state of our union.

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda has one core mission: to uplift and amplify the influence of Black women, girls, and gender-expansive leaders advocating for Reproductive Justice on the federal, regional and state levels as they develop new and expansive policy solutions to the most pressing crises we face as a society. Our power is in our persistent focus on Reproductive Justice policy at every level of government.

On your first day in office, you signed Executive Order 13985 and committed to advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. Fully advancing racial equity is impossible without advancing Reproductive Justice, a framework, based in human rights, that affirms the right to not have a child;  the right to have a child;  the right to the social and economic supports to parent the child(ren) one already has, free from varying forms of interpersonal, community, and/or state-based violence; and the right to sexual expression. These four values lay out the obligations of the United States government and society to ensure conditions exist for each individual to realize these values and combat interlocking systems of oppression–race, class, gender–that undermine the lives of Black people.

The Reproductive Justice movement is at a critical juncture. Amidst the chaos that continues to ensue across states, your Administration has an opportunity to crystalize a vision for Reproductive Justice from the grassroots up and to build power for Black women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals by focusing on three key policy areas:

VOTING RIGHTS: Black women are the largest voting constituency in the American electorate. Every year, we register voters, organize our communities, and deliver the votes for politicians that should reflect our values. At In Our Own Voice, we are committed to increasing Black women’s voter turnout in local, state, and federal elections, and we are reinvesting in voting rights, with a focus on Black women, girls, and

gender-expansive individuals, as our top priority during this coming election year. Leveraging our unique positioning as the only national Black Reproductive Justice organization advancing policy change, In Our Own Voice is committed to elevating the experiences and needs of Black women and gender-expansive folks and connecting them with the voting process on their own terms; including working with our state partners in CA, GA, LA, MI, NJ, OH, PA, TN, TX, and VA  through our I AM A REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE VOTER initative. Our innovative long-term initiative works to increase Black female voter turnout in local, state, and federal elections. We urge you to use your State of the Union address to remind all those in attendance that Black people, who have been overwhelmingly infringed upon within the electoral process aren’t apathetic; rather, our leaders must work hard to bolster their involvement in order to invoke social change and to win. The stakes are too high for your Administration to give up on restoring the promise of the Voting Rights Act just because of an intransigent Congress—we urge you to continue to push every Member of Congress to pass the For the People Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Please keep fighting to protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot box, including by removing undue barriers to voting and ensuring every eligible vote is counted.

Further, we know that access to the ballot box is central to protecting reproductive health, rights, and justice in localities and states across the country. Voting rights is a Reproductive Justice issue. We face a dangerous future where politicians can remove our right to abortion care based on their ideological agendas, not medical science. Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration must act to ensure the right to abortion care is fully available to all people. One bold proposal could include calling on Congress to pass legislation modeled on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, requiring federal preclearance provisions for states and local governments with a history of oppressive voter restrictive policies that target communities of color, particularly Black communities.

ABORTION ACCESS AND THE IMPACT OF THE DOBBS DECISION ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY: In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States upended nearly 50 years of its own precedent and issued a majority opinion in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization that overturned the constitutional right to abortion care enshrined by Roe v. Wade. Black women and girls account for more than one-third of all U.S. abortions, although they comprise just 13 percent of the population. There are several factors driving this disproportionately high rate, including the fact that Black women are more likely to lack economic resources, to be unemployed and/or uninsured, and to be insured by programs that restrict coverage for abortion care. Though failing at the ballot box, anti-abortion activists are succeeding in their efforts to systematically dismantle the abortion care system  through statehouses and legislatures, erecting barriers that make services inaccessible—since the fall of Roe v. Wade, at least 21 states have enacted near-total bans on procedural and medication abortion, have no abortion providers due to previous restrictions, maintain gestational age bans that were previously unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, or appear primed to enact near-total bans on surgical and medication abortion. Using the court system, any anti-abortion legislators are attempting to ban access to medication abortion not only within their states, but nationwide. Black women, girls, and gender-expansive people are more likely to live in these states—the same states that make it harder to access contraception and offer the fewest resources to help Black families care for their children. Black pregnant people living in poverty and battling systemic racism are not able to simply travel to another state to receive abortion care.

The Dobbs decision and its continuing ramifications will be deadly for Black people. It compounds inequities we face in sexual and reproductive health care services—including the highest rates of maternal and infant

morbidity and mortality. Black women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals are systematically denied the information and services they need to act in their own best interests—including abortion care that is critical to bodily autonomy. Only once all barriers to bodily autonomy have been dismantled can we make advances in generational wealth and seize opportunities to grow and excel personally, socially, academically, and professionally. To promote not just reproductive health and rights, but true Reproductive Justice, we urge your Administration to advocate for eliminating all restrictions on abortion care, including waiting periods, surgical setting requirements, and parental consent or notification; providing public funding for all abortion care services and investing in community-based providers; protecting all access to medication abortion; eliminating funding for crisis pregnancy centers; allowing trained and licensed advanced practice medical professionals to provide early abortion care; and prohibiting the abuse of “religious freedom” to restrict or ban access to abortion care.

TASK FORCE ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE ACCESS. We thank you and Vice President Harris for establishing the first of its kind Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access. Today, 18 months since the Task Force’s first convening, we urge you to expand its mandate to more robustly address issues of Reproductive Justice. The issues raised above are all critical to protect abortion access to Black women, girls, and gender-expansive people and must be included in the Task Force’s agenda in 2024. We also urge you to expand the scope of the Task Force’s work to cover all issues that intersect with reproductive health care access and that are critical to securing Reproductive Justice, including voting rights; gender-based violence; economic justice; education justice; LGBTQIA+ liberation; environmental justice; police violence; food justice; housing justice; immigrant justice; aging and elder justice; and sex work.

We are grateful for your consideration of this unique opportunity to uplift Black women and girls – their families and their communities — through the State of the Union. Should your staff have further questions, they should please contact me at or (240) 594-0429. Thank you for your time.


Regina Davis Moss, PhD, MPH, MCHES
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
Black Women for Wellness
Black Women’s Health Imperative
New Voices for Reproductive Justice
SisterLove, Inc.
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
The Afiya Center
Women With A Vision
Birth In Color-RVA
New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association
Oshun Family Center
Wisdom Institute

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