Soon after President Biden’s inauguration, Palmer Report told you about how his new administration was taking fast action to alter the trajectory of women’s rights. On January 28, Biden signed a memorandum aimed at extricating every last bit of misogyny that Donald Trump spent four years trying to cement into our laws. One of those bits is now formally slated for demolition.
In one part of his memorandum, Biden directed his administration to rethink an anti-abortion rule passed in 2019 under Trump regarding Title X. Under the Trump rule, federal funding has stopped flowing to low-income patients who need reproductive healthcare. On Wednesday, the Biden administration proposed a new rule that would reinstate normalcy and decency while undoing the harm that Trump has unleashed.
Under the Biden rule, the Title X program would let more abortion clinics receive funding to provide free or subsidized contraception and other healthcare services to approximately 4 million Americans per year who can’t otherwise afford it. The Trump rule has not only blocked funds to abortion providers, but it has even disallowed funds to facilities that merely refer patients to abortion providers.
Due to the bans and burdens inherent in the Trump rule, roughly 25% of program providers left the Title X program. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), six states (Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington) have lost all their Title X providers and another six states (Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York) have lost nearly all.
This denial of funding to people who need it has had serious real-life consequences. The Health Department estimates that the Trump administration’s anti-women, anti-poverty, pro-sadism rule has led to as many as 181,477 unintended pregnancies, which imply “poor maternal and infant outcomes.” An accompanying increase in preterm and low-birthweight births, sexually transmitted infections, infertility, and cervical cancer has also meant higher costs for American taxpayers.
Trump’s disastrous rule will remain on the books until the Biden rule is finalized, which unfortunately won’t happen until later this year. As an HHS spokesperson explained to Politico, federal rulemaking laws prevent a new administration from acting sooner without risking that the rule will be struck down through litigation. This is yet another reminder that elections have consequences.
Speaking at the Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama said that “no country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” It’s high time for the United States of America to truly flourish, and the Biden administration is moving as quickly as legally possible to get us there.