Abortion Health On the Hill Reproductive Rights

Biden Executive Order Ends Global Gag Rule and Strengthens Health Care Access

Today, President Biden will sign a series of executive orders that will end the global gag rule which prevents nongovernmental organizations from receiving U.S. aid if they provide or recommend abortion care. They will also order a review and assessment of the Title X domestic gag rule, as well as strengthening access to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

The global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, was put in place by the Trump administration in 2017. They also put a rule in place in 2019 that prevented Title X funds from being used by health care providers who performed or even just reccomended abortion care to their patients. This move prompted hundreds of providers, including Planned Parenthood, to withdraw from the program, leaving huge gaps in care.

The executive orders will also aim to revitalize the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, two programs that were under constant attack by the Trump administration. There will be a special enrollment period opening from February 15 – May 15 for those without healthcare during the pandemic to sign up. According to a statement from the White House, federal agencies will be directed to review:

  • Policies that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including complications related to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrations and waivers under Medicaid and the ACA that may reduce coverage or undermine the programs, including work requirements;
  • Policies that undermine the Health Insurance Marketplace or other markets for health insurance;
  • Policies that make it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA; and
  • Policies that reduce affordability of coverage or financial assistance, including for dependents. 

A group of over 100 organizations published an ad in the Washington Post pushing the Biden administration to act swiftly to reverse the damage done to reproductive healthcare by the Trump administration. Their asks include rescinding the global gag rule, rescinding the Title X gag rule, lift the restrictions on medication abortion that unnecessarily require patients to receive the pills in person during the pandemic, and making good on their campaign promise to end the Hyde Amendment, a historically racist and classist policy that prevents low-income and predominately people of color from accessing most types of abortion care.

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