Prioritizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy
Today, President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum revoking the January 23, 2017 Presidential Memorandum on the Mexico City Policy. Pursuant to President Biden’s memorandum, the previous administration’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy has also been rescinded.
In the Biden-Harris administration, the empowerment and protection of women and girls, including promoting their sexual and reproductive health and rights, is a central part of U.S. foreign policy and national security. Today’s action by President Biden will help improve the lives of women and children around the world by expanding the base of partners implementing U.S. health assistance and increasing access to critical health services, including HIV/AIDS care for key populations, family planning information and services, and effective tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment.
Pursuant to President Biden’s memorandum, and consistent with applicable law, the State Department is also taking the necessary steps to make $32.5 million appropriated by Congress available in 2021 to support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA’s work is essential to the health and well-being of women around the world and directly supports the safety and prosperity of communities around the globe, especially in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As the largest donor to both maternal health and voluntary family planning programs, including the provision of life-saving health care services in crisis settings, the United States will continue its efforts to make pregnancy and childbirth safer by strengthening health systems to provide women with integral health services, including increased access to maternal health care and voluntary family planning. The United States will also partner with governments, the private sector, and international and non-governmental organizations to improve health outcomes and empower women and girls so that they can realize their full potential and help drive social and economic development.
Finally, the United States will withdraw co-sponsorship and signature from the Geneva Consensus Declaration in a timely and appropriate manner. Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States is re-engaging multilaterally to protect and promote the human rights of all women and girls, consistent with the long-standing global consensus on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.