“We [had] a president who centered his work on denial, division and denigration: denial of the pandemic, of climate change and of racism; division between red and blue, white and Black, us versus them politics; and denigration of women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community,” Rep. Katherine Clark (D- Mass.), the newly elected assistant speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told Ms. “But 80 million people voted for change, to restore integrity and truth and science and equality.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have their work cut out for them, to say the least. The new administration has pledged in The Biden Agenda for Women to pursue an “aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.” It’s part of the Biden blueprint to “build back better,” and after four years of the Trump administration’s destructive roll-backs of women’s rights, it’s about time.

“We cannot squander a moment because the damage is so great,” said Catherine Lhamon, former assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department in the Obama administration and current chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “We need to have a forward-looking plan for how we use every moment of the next four years of the Biden administration to ensure that the safety net that we long have believed in is actually present for people in this country.”

The Biden-Harris administration has already established its ambitious agenda for advancing women’s rights in areas such as health care, reproductive rights, economic security, family life, education and gender-based violence. With this plan in mind, Ms. spoke to leading policymakers, advocates and activists to learn what women can expect—and hope for—in 2021 and beyond.

Health Care and Reproductive Rights

It’s now widely acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women, people of color and lower-income people—who are more likely to experience life-threatening illness because of racial disparities or dangerous work conditions as essential workers, or who may need to care for sick family members or supervise children learning remotely.

“The pandemic has put all the inequities that we knew were there into stark relief,” Clark noted.

Understanding these disparities, Biden and Harris have pledged to take—and are already taking—the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families and to reopen schools and businesses safely.

Most critically, Biden and Harris will fight ongoing Republican attempts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will battle to expand access to affordable, high-quality health care with a public insurance option for all. And they will reverse former President Donald Trump’s devastating restrictions on access to reproductive health care.


Original story here.