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Biden touts effort to protect 'reproductive rights' on International Women's Day

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on ending the war in Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2021, in front of the Cross Hall of the White House. |

President Joe Biden touted his administration’s work on behalf of “reproductive rights” in a statement recognizing International Women’s Day Tuesday.

In a White House statement, which marked the annual celebration of International Women’s Day, the president remarked that “improving the status of women and girls strengthens economies, democracies, and societies across the board.”

“That’s why I made gender equity a cornerstone of my Administration by creating the White House Gender Policy Council shortly after taking office a year ago,” the president stated.

The 79-year-old unveiled a list of what he viewed as accomplishments his administration has achieved on behalf of women.

The list included a reference to a “whole-of-government effort to protect reproductive rights,” a euphemism used by Democrats that refers to abortion access and contraception. 

In a factsheet celebrating the first anniversary of the White House Gender Policy Council’s establishment on International Women’s Day 2021, the White House elaborated on its “whole-of-government effort to protect reproductive rights.”

The document cited the effort to “protect reproductive rights” as necessary because of “an extreme and unconstitutional Texas law that severely impairs access to abortion after six weeks.”

After highlighting the Department of Health and Human Services’ issuance of “Title X grant support for health service providers” and “additional funding to a current Title X family planning grantee in Texas,” the factsheet mentioned that “the Department of Justice (DOJ) has vigorously pursued a legal challenge to the Texas law.”

“The Attorney General reaffirmed DOJ’s commitment to continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, including abortion,” the factsheet adds. 

The administration also weighed in on the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. The Justice Department filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case contending that Mississippi’s law violates constitutional protections enshrined by the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade

A ruling in favor of Mississippi, which is seeking to uphold the ban, would significantly weaken or reverse the precedent set by Roe, the ruling which legalized abortion nationwide.

The court consists of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents, which feeds into abortion activists’ concerns about the outcome of the decision. 

The White House joins other pro-abortion groups in expressing concern about the momentum of the pro-life movement at the state level.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released a report at the end of last year dubbing 2021 “The Worst Year for Abortion Rights in Almost Half a Century.”

Statistics compiled by the advocacy group revealed that “106 abortion restrictions had been enacted in 19 states” in 2021, the highest amount of such laws passed in a year since 1973.

Although the Biden administration did not mention this in any of its statements published as part of International Women’s Day, the president strongly supported the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill would codify the findings of Roe into federal law and limit the ability of states to pass pro-life laws.

The bill died after the U.S. Senate failed to garner the necessary votes to begin debate on the legislation last week. 

More recently, the Department of Health and Human Services launched a “Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force,” pointing to concerns about the possible overturning or weakening of Roe and the barrage of pro-life laws at the state level as justifications for such an action. 

The factsheet also noted that the president “issued a Presidential Memorandum to protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care and to revoke the Mexico City Policy.”

The Mexico City Policy, first signed into law by the late President Ronald Reagan, prevents using taxpayer dollars to fund foreign nongovernmental organizations that conduct or promote abortions overseas. The Biden administration characterized the Mexico City Policy as the “global gag rule.”

The factsheet also stated that the Biden administration “restored funding to the [United Nations] Population Fund, which supports the provision of sexual and reproductive health services in fragile contexts.” 

Biden is not the first Democratic president to abandon the Mexico City Policy after taking office.

President Bill Clinton revoked the pro-life policy upon taking office in 1993. Republican President George W. Bush reinstated the policy upon taking office in 2001, while President Barack Obama rescinded the policy eight years later.

Former President Donald Trump reinstated the policy shortly after taking office in 2017.

Additionally, the White House “charged … HHS with reviewing the Title X Rule to ensure that low-income people can access family planning and other preventative health care.” The policy change regarding Title X marks a reversal from the Trump administration’s policy on the family planning program, which restricted the ability of abortion providers to participate.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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