Biden’s Policies Towards Global Healthcare and Womens’ Rights

by Navya Chamiraju


What you can do:

  1. Contact your local representative and express your concerns about the Global Gag Rule to help speed up the process and place these new ideals into practice.
  2. Learn more about the Gag Rule and other women’s reproductive rights issues abroad through organizations such as the Open Society Foundation [4].

During the Trump Administration, different conservative policies were placed into action. One of these policies that made a big difference was the “Global Gag Rule” [3]. This policy was supported by conservative leaders and further built on the Siljander Amendment which banned global aid for abortion-related activities [2]. The Trump administration took it a step further, however, and denied funding to foreign organizations that fund abortion-related activities. These activities involve counseling, referrals, and advocacy for womens’ and abortion rights. This policy also disrupted the funding and support for global health services including AIDS relief. According to interviews from 22 experts abroad, the Gag Rule disrupts the healthcare system and services in different areas of the world, especially in impoverished countries [6]. The Gag Rule also calls for resistance against advances in healthcare and human rights and weaker relationships between different companies and governments. This is because most companies and governments cannot collaborate to create healthcare policies to support the public, which not only hinders the leaders but the public as well [6]. This disconnect between organizations and people alienates fragile and underprivileged groups and undermines the government’s goal of meeting human rights obligations [3]. The gag rule created a greater divide between underprivileged and privileged groups as it restricted government and organizational resources to the common population.

The Biden administration issued a memorandum on January 28, 2021. This order is going to help restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund and increase support for maternity care and care for victims of gender based crimes [3]. The Trump administration revoked more than 12 billion dollars of global and domestic aid [7]. This aid would’ve gone towards providing care for the 50 percent of women worldwide who suffer from AIDS and HIV due to lack of proper education and healthcare [5]. There are also half a million cases of maternal deaths each year, with 99 percent coming from developing countries [5]. This aid could’ve gone towards improving the medical supplies and conditions to decrease the maternal death rate. But with Biden’s administration, there is hope for the US government and the UN and its Population Fund to work together to provide more services and safety to women globally. The administration is also in the process of revoking the Domestic Gag Rule which restricts healthcare services such as basic reproductive health in the Title X program [3]. Revoking this rule will help healthcare providers give their female patients a better understanding of all their options to best serve their reproductive health needs. 

This repeal of the Gag Rule and other laws that restrict women’s healthcare rights may take a long time to be put to action [1]. This change may take a long time to unfold as it is a  complicated and “drawn-out” process that requires shifting beliefs that are ingrained in the public’s mind. Reversing the complete impacts that the rule caused is nearly impossible and the damage done is almost irreversible [4]. The action that is about to take place to fulfill Biden’s goals will need to be done swiftly to change standard provisions and beliefs. This will require a lot of conversation and work as the US administration will have to convince the global sector that the US is trustworthy again and is there to help diminish healthcare disparities. This change  is worth the wait,  as it will look to improve the healthcare conditions for women around the world.  Repealing the rule will also improve the relationship between organizations and governments as women’s health organizations’ funds are reinstated to help the public. This memorandum is accepted nationally and globally as women’s standards of living and rights will increase exponentially due to an increased access to healthcare. 


Works Cited:

image: https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/infographic-global-gag-rule/

[1] https://www.devex.com/news/biden-repeals-the-global-gag-rule-but-next-steps-will-be-huge-undertaking-98954

[2] https://globaljusticecenter.net/files/FAQAbortionRestrictions.pdf 

[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/01/28/us-biden-acts-undo-trump-damage-womens-health 

[4] https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/what-global-gag-rule 

[5] https://www.pih.org/article/women-still-face-big-gaps-in-access-to-health-care 

[6] https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/communities/planned-parenthood-global/end-global-gag-rule 

[7] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/01/28/biden-trump-abortion-global-gag-rule-faq/