Excerpt of The Hill Op-Ed authored by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan and Ipas President Anu Kumar.
The first year of Joe Biden’s presidency came to a close just days before the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which has served as the foundation for Americans’ right to abortion ever since. Yet, it could be the last anniversary we ever celebrate.
In the next six months, the Supreme Court is set to rule in a case aimed directly at dismantling the constitutional protections established by Roe. Given the realities of a conservative Supreme Court and gridlock in Congress, executive branch leadership and support of abortion is critical. The time is now for the Biden administration and federal agencies to take every measure necessary to protect abortion access. But it shouldn’t stop at creative domestic approaches — an international perspective is also needed.
In the early days of his term, President Biden rescinded a policy known as the “global gag rule.” This policy restricted foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. global health funds from using their own resources to engage in abortion-related work. While rescinding this policy is to be commended, it is also a low bar that every other Democratic president has cleared in the first days of their presidencies since the policy was first enacted in 1985 by the Reagan administration. To demonstrate a real commitment to protecting sexual and reproductive rights around the world, the Biden administration must dismantle structural policies that allowed the global gag rule to exist in the first place.