There was a flurry of activities in the first few weeks of the Biden-Harris administration. Within his first 10 days of office, President Biden signed measures to address family planning services, international abortion access, LGBTQ rights, racial disparities and health insurance coverage, among other key issues. These actions signal a return to evidence-based policymaking and an understanding that facts matter when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights.  

The administration’s actions sought to undo some of the most egregious policy attacks on health care that occurred during the last four years. They are necessary first steps, but in many cases are just that. Indeed, the advocates behind the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive, Rights, and Justice—including those at the Guttmacher Institute—have outlined an extensive list of necessary actions.  

A look at the key sexual and reproductive health and rights policies that the Biden-Harris administration has pursued highlights the administration’s early accomplishments, and the actions that still need to be taken to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. 

International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 

Initial steps: 

Next steps: Repealing the global gag rule alone does not turn the United States into a global champion of reproductive rights. The Biden-Harris administration can—and must—take a comprehensive approach to unraveling the dangerous, punitive and coercive policies the previous administration wove into U.S. foreign policy. In addition to supporting increased funding for global health efforts and institutions, the current administration should: 

U.S. Family Planning 

Initial steps:  

Next steps: Repealing the Title X rule is just the first step in addressing the prior administration’s attacks on domestic family planning. The Biden-Harris administration must take inventory of the numerous and compounding ways the prior administration jeopardized family planning providers and coverage, and should: 

U.S. Abortion Access 

Initial steps:  

Next steps: Much of the harm done by the previous administration was carried out through incendiary rhetoric and lies. It is incumbent upon the Biden-Harris administration to offer a counternarrative that dispels myths, promotes facts and evidence, and destigmatizes abortion. Unfortunately, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has passed up several opportunities  to affirm the administration’s commitment to abortion rights and access. The administration must be unequivocal about its support, including by publicly committing to the following actions: 

U.S. Insurance Coverage 

Initial steps:  

Next steps: The executive order is just the beginning of a long but necessary process to reverse the harms of the previous administration’s health care policies; protect the ACA and Medicaid from further attacks in the courts, Congress and the states; and work toward comprehensive health insurance for everyone that meets their sexual and reproductive health needs. 

The Biden-Harris administration has also begun to address a number of its predecessor’s egregious attacks on marginalized communities. This includes (but is not limited to) executive action to embed policies that advance racial equity across the federal government, to preserve and support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to begin the process of unifying immigrant families torn apart by the Trump administration’s family separation policy and repealing the Trump administration’s vastly expanded and punitive ”public charge” rule, and to broaden antidiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in work, school, health care and other settings. 

While the Biden-Harris administration should be lauded for its decisive first steps to address the harms of the previous administration, the work is not done. In order to “build back better,” the administration must continue to take bold, decisive steps toward evidence-based, equitable policies, including on sexual and reproductive health and rights.