Congressional Pro-Choice Leaders Urge Biden to Take Immediate Steps to Protect Reproductive Rights

Dec 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus – led by U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee and (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) – sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden outlining the steps they hope his administration will immediately take to “preserve, protect, and advance sexual and reproductive health” for everyone in the U.S. and around the world.

In the letter, which was co-signed by all nine Pro-Choice Caucus Task Force Chairs, the Congressional pro-choice leaders said the House’s pro-choice majority in the upcoming Congress “presents a unique and timely opportunity” to protect American’s reproductive rights. And they called on the president-elect to use his executive authority to undo many of the actions taken by the Trump administration in recent years to curtail Americans’ access to abortion services. 

“The Caucus serves as the first line of defense against anti-choice legislation and regulations,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are committed to protecting and advancing sexual and reproductive health and stand ready to partner with your administration on policies, regulations, and budgets to ensure that all people are free and equal to exercise bodily autonomy.”

In their letter to Biden, the lawmakers outlined several actions they want the incoming administration to take immediately – including issuing an executive order to, among other things: 

  • Revoke the Global Gag Rule;  
  • Lift the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, a medication used to safely and effectively end an early pregnancy or treat an early miscarriage.
  • Prohibit states from blocking family planning providers that also provide abortions from participating in Title X;
  • Expand U.S. foreign assistance support for abortion care to the maximum extent allowed under the Helms amendment, namely by immediately clarifying that funds can be used to support abortion care provided in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment of the pregnant person;
  • Rescind the Trump Administration’s birth-control coverage exemption rules, which allow virtually any employer to refuse to cover birth control for their employees, contrary to the ACA;
  • Rescind the Trump Administration’s “Refusal of Care” rule, which invites many individuals and entities to withhold health care services and information from patients without regard for the patient’s wellbeing;
  • Rescind the Trump Administration’s “Public Charge” rule, which discourages immigrants from accessing basic services and public programs; and
  • Rescind the 1303 abortion coverage rule, which requires separate billing and payment transactions for abortion coverage provided under certain ACA health plans.

The lawmakers also called on the incoming administration to: 

  • Re-enter the United States into the World Health Organization;
  • Disband the Commission on Unalienable Rights 
  • Restore funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Reverse the Trump Administration’s restrictions on biomedical research that involves fetal tissue; and
  • Halt all non-final regulations that will limit access to health care, including reproductive health care.

In addition to DeGette and Lee, the letter was signed by: Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Norma Torres (D-CA).

To read the full text of the lawmakers’ letter to the Biden Administration, click here.