NOW Joins Coalition to Release the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice released First Priorities, a detailed punch list of executive and agency actions for the opening days of an incoming administration. 

 “Women have lost so much ground under the Trump administration to the essential health services they depend on,” said NOW President Toni Van Pelt. “I strongly urge that the next administration embrace these critically important recommendations to restore and strengthen women’s access to affordable, high-quality health care.” 

First Priorities is based on the Blueprint, a bold, intersectional, and proactive policy agenda to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice released last year and developed by a diverse coalition of more than 90 organizations.  

First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice is a roadmap for an incoming administration’s first days. It lists specific actions centered around six key points and milestones:   

  1. On day one, issue an Executive Order unequivocally committing to reproductive health care, rights, and justice. Specifically, the Executive Order must: 
    • Revoke the January 23, 2017, Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy and clarify what is permitted under current law to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including foreign assistance for abortion, to the maximum extent allowed; 
    •  Rescind Executive Order 13535 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Consistency with Longstanding Restrictions on the Use of Federal Funds for Abortion; 
    • Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to lift the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone for the duration of the public health emergency, consistent with similar directives and waivers issued to reduce risk of COVID-19; and 
    • Direct all executive departments and agencies to rescind other harmful policies and regulations, and take proactive steps to protect care, including but not limited to those actions listed under Sections 5 and 6 below. 
  1. Publicly commit the U.S to re-engage on a global scale to advance the health and rights of individuals worldwide and re-engage with international organizations. 
  1. Propose a budget that demonstrates a commitment to sexual and reproductive health. This includes significant investments in global family planning and reproductive health programs, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), the Title X Family Planning Program, the Title V Maternal & Child Health Services Block Grant; the CDC Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Initiative, and the Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies, among others. The budget must also end the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions, and ensure that everyone has abortion coverage, regardless of their income or source of insurance. The Administration must also commit to veto legislation that extends, reiterates or incorporates the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions, including annual appropriations bills.
  1. Nominate and appoint individuals for executive branch positions who are experts in their field and possess a positive record on reproductive health, rights, and justice. 
  1. Halt all non-final regulations that limit access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and initiate the process of rescinding harmful regulations, including the “Domestic Gag Rule.”
  1. Within 90 days of assuming office, institute key agency policy and practice changes that advance reproductive health care, rights, and justice. These changes ran the gamut from HHS to the State Department to the Department of Justice and include:  
    • The Department of Health and Human Services must protect patients’ choice of reproductive health care provider, in part by reinstating 2016 guidance reaffirming Medicaid’s free choice of provider provisions, and ensuring that states may not exclude qualified providers of reproductive health care from Medicaid for reasons unrelated to their qualifications, including their provision of abortion care; 
    • The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) must rescind a 2008 policy that requires heightened ORR involvement in abortions and issue new guidance to ensure that all care facilities provide minors with timely, confidential access to family planning services, including pregnancy tests and comprehensive, non-directive information about and access to reproductive health services, such as abortion and contraception, including emergency contraception. 
    • The administration must use every mechanism at its disposal to encourage states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage to at least 12 months postpartum, including by issuing guidance, while ensuring continued Maintenance of Effort (MOE); 

First Priorities and the Blueprint are grounded in the fundamental belief that in order for people to be free and equal they must be able to exercise complete autonomy over their bodies. They stem from the palpable urgency, in light of increasingly hostile attacks on reproductive autonomy and rights, for a transformative vision for the future that centers reproductive health, rights, and justice.  

First Priorities can be found at: