Statement from In Our Own Voice President and CEO Marcela Howell WASHINGTON — Once again,…
Sexual and Reproductive health, rights and justice: A Collaboration
The Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice is an extensive policy agenda for the new administration to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice (SRHRJ) in the United States and around the world. The Blueprint was developed by a diverse group of more than 90 SRHRJ organizations co-led by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda and Planned Parenthood Federation America.
In June 2020 the Blueprint coalition released First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, to provide a detailed guide for the incoming administration’s first days in office. The first priorities are centered around 6 key points and actions that represent a broad vision and commitment to sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice domestically and globally:
- On day one, issue an Executive Order unequivocally committing to reproductive health care, rights, and justice. Specifically, the Executive Order must:
- Revoke the January 23, 2017, Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy and clarify what is permitted under current law to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including foreign assistance for abortion, to the maximum extent allowed;
- Rescind Executive Order 13535 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Consistency with Longstanding Restrictions on the Use of Federal Funds for Abortion;
- Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to lift the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone for the duration of the public health emergency, consistent with similar directives and waivers issued to reduce risk of COVID-19; and
- Direct all executive departments and agencies to rescind other harmful policies and regulations, and take proactive steps to protect care, including but not limited to those actions listed under Sections 5 and 6 below.
- Publicly commit the U.S to re-engage on a global scale to advance the health and rights of individuals worldwide and re-engage with international organizations.
- Propose a budget that demonstrates a commitment to sexual and reproductive health. This includes significant investments in global family planning and reproductive health programs, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), the Title X Family Planning Program, the Title V Maternal & Child Health Services Block Grant; the CDC Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Initiative, and the Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies, among others. The budget must also end the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions, and ensure that everyone has abortion coverage, regardless of their income or source of insurance. The Administration must also commit to vetoing legislation that extends, reiterates, or incorporates the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions, including annual appropriations bills.
- Nominate and appoint diverse individuals for executive branch positions who are experts in their field and possess a positive record on reproductive health, rights, and justice.
- Halt all non-final regulations that limit access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and initiate the process of rescinding harmful regulations, including the “Domestic Gag Rule.”
- Within 90 days of assuming office, institute key agency policy and practice changes that advance reproductive health care, rights, and justice. These changes ran the gamut from HHS to the State Department to the Department of Justice and included:
- The Department of Health and Human Services must protect patients’ choice of reproductive health care provider, in part by reinstating 2016 guidance reaffirming Medicaid’s free choice of provider provisions, and ensuring that states may not exclude qualified providers of reproductive health care from Medicaid for reasons unrelated to their qualifications, including their provision of abortion care;
- The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) must rescind a 2008 policy that requires heightened ORR involvement in abortions and issue new guidance to ensure that all care facilities provide minors with timely, confidential access to family planning services, including pregnancy tests and comprehensive, non-directive information about and access to reproductive health services, such as abortion and contraception, including emergency contraception;
- The administration must use every mechanism at its disposal to encourage states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage to at least 12 months postpartum, including by issuing guidance, while ensuring continued Maintenance of Effort (MOE).
In the last few years, reproductive health, rights, and justice have been undermined and the impact has been felt across the country and globally. First Priorities provides clear guidelines for how the incoming Biden administration can prioritize reproductive health, rights, and justice in the first days and months of the administration. These actions will lay the foundation for structural change and policies that we believe are necessary.