How Will the New US Administration Affect Women's Health?

How Will the New US Administration Affect Women's Health?

Feb 03 , 2021

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Megan McDonough

Things are looking up, mommas! 

Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we all can agree that women—including and especially moms—deserve more in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know the Biden-Harris administration and how it affects our health. 

In case you’re interested, here’s our in-depth look at what maternity looks like in the United States and a breakdown of our country’s history of breastfeeding. Compared to breastfeeding habits from around the world, it’s all pretty fascinating! 

The Affordable Care Act

Women around the world can sleep easy again because the Affordable Care Act is back up and running. *Cue collective sigh of relief. 

Biden signed two executive orders that are designed to expand access to reproductive health care and health insurance. According to a statement from Biden, the Affordable Care Act under Trump became more inaccessible, more expensive and more difficult for people to qualify. 

In short, Biden’s orders essentially return the Affordable Care Act to how it was initially designed to run, pre-Trump. 

According to NPR, Biden is also asking agencies to review policies that undermined protections for people with preexisting conditions, including complications related to COVID-19.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

Within Biden’s first few days in office, the president signed off on 30 executive orders, two of which center around women’s reproductive rights both at home and abroad. 

Under Biden, the U.S. has withdrawn from the anti-abortion “Geneva Consensus Declaration” that the Trump administration signed last year. This declaration, which was signed by many other countries, asserted that “there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion.” 

He has also repealed the ‘Mexico City Policy.’ Coined the “global gag rule,” this controversial policy was first adopted by the Reagan administration back in 1984 and prevents overseas organizations carrying out abortions or offering abortion counseling from receiving American aid. According to The Guardian, “the policy has been blamed for contributing to thousands of maternal deaths in the developing world over the past four years.”

It’s worth noting that since its adoption in 1984, the “global gag rule” has consistently been repealed by every Democratic administration, only to be reinstated by Republican administrations. For this reason, a strong majority of women’s health groups are urging Biden to make this repeal permanent.

The Biden Agenda for Women

As part of Biden’s commitment to restore the economic crisis across the country, he has also promised to push for better equality for women—particularly women of color. According to his website, he is committed to achieving these goals through: 

Improving economic security

    • equal pay
    • investing in women-owned small businesses
    • expanding access to education and job training

Expanding access to health care

Now that the ACA is restored, we are likely to see expanded access to high-quality and affordable health care for women. 

Navigating work and families

Providing paid leave and other workplace benefits and protections to parents as well as Americans with disabilities. 

We personally really hope to see major improvements here. Fast Company reports that at the start of the school year in 2020, 865,000 women dropped out of the labor force—or 4x the rate of men. That, and “COVID-19 has laid bare the gaps in our caregiving infrastructure.”

Ending violence against women

President Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, so that’s a great start. 

Protecting and empowering women around the world

This is a tough read, but an important one, centering around the startling number of immigrant women who say they were abused by ICE gynecologist. 

Looking ahead

So far, things are looking up. Not only did Biden select Kamala Harris to serve as his Vice President, but he has appointed an all-female senior White House communications team. Six of this staff are moms of young kids. 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿

What else are you hoping to see our government do for women?

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