Note (November 10, 2020): Please see the more recent version of this article, which has been updated to reflect the results of the November 2020 elections and can be found here.


As the COVID-19 pandemic tested the fragmented U.S. health care system in spring and summer 2020, sexual and reproductive health and rights were neglected or outright targeted by opponents of reproductive autonomy. Now, with attention turning to planning for the future, policymakers and other stakeholders must address these setbacks and support the work of providers and advocates whose innovation and resilience helped to mitigate the damage over the last few months. The focus cannot simply be on how to restore the health care system to its prepandemic status, but rather on how to redress long-standing injustices and bolster sexual and reproductive health and rights in 2021 and beyond.

Many of the people most directly harmed by these health care system challenges are simultaneously dealing with racism and other deeply entrenched societal inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In tackling these issues, stakeholders must recognize that people hold multiple identities and experience multifaceted hardships. As we look ahead to next year, it is important to remain focused on people and their communities, as policy solutions must serve their needs.

With this resource, we shine a spotlight on the communities and populations that will be most affected by important sexual and reproductive health policy decisions that lie ahead in 2021 and lay out recommendations to meet their needs, based on the latest evidence and rooted in values of equity and justice.

Who Will Be Impacted by Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy Decisions in 2021?

Anyone who uses public health insurance programs​
Anyone who uses contraception
Anyone seeking an abortion
Anyone who needs maternal health care
Adolescents and young adults
LGBTQ+ community
Black, Indigenous and other people of color
People around the world