With eye on 2024 election, Biden touts executive order on women’s health research

Written by on March 18, 2024

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday that he said marks the launch of “the first-ever White House initiative of women’s health research to pioneer the next generation of scientific research and discovery of women’s health.”

The order, he said, will direct the “most comprehensive set of executive actions ever taken” to address women’s health by prioritizing it across the federal government.

“Because it really matters. Because we are focused on supporting women together,” Biden said in remarks from the East Room, where he was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and Maria Shriver, the founder of Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.

Women helped deliver Biden the White House in the 2020 election, and as the campaign season heats up, he’s again focusing on female voters.

During the speech, Biden touted what he said was his administration’s record of prioritizing women to improve the economy through shoring up women’s participation in the workforce and prioritizing access to child care and the child tax credit.

He vowed to continue his efforts to renew the now expired program in the face of GOP opposition.

“Through my American Rescue Plan and the child tax credit, we cut child poverty nearly in half. That is a fact,” Biden said. “Which I might add, and my Republican friends tell me we spent a lot of money, it’s saving billions of dollars. Saving billions of dollars. We’re actually cutting the deficit, too. Republicans voted against to let it expire but I’m fighting to bring the child tax credit back.”

He also focused heavily on reproductive health, promising, as he has many times before, to codify the abortion rights access in Roe v. Wade if voters send a Congress willing to do so in November.

Biden tried to draw a contrast with his 2024 election rival — former President Donald Trump — referring to him as his “predecessor.”

“Democracy is literally at stake here at home and abroad. Our basic freedoms are under assault. Freedom to vote, freedom to choose, and so much more. My predecessor and his allies in Congress make no apologies for it. But here’s the deal. It’s the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court wrote, quote, ‘women are not without electoral and or political power.’ No kidding,” Biden said.

“You send me a Democratic Congress that supports reproductive freedom, I promise you, I promise you — we will restore Roe v. Wade, again as the law of the land,” he said.

Vice President Harris also stressed the importance of the upcoming election as she spoke about her historic visit Planned Parenthood clinic in Minneapolis last week. She commended the “courageous” medical professionals caring for patients as clinics across the country close due to state-level restrictions imposed after the fall of Roe.

“There is so much at stake in this moment and we each face a question: What kind of country do we want to live in? Do we want to live in a country of liberty, freedom and rule of law or a country of disorder, fear and hate?” Harris said. “Each of us has the power to answer that question with our feet, with our voice and with our vote.”

Biden’s executive order will direct federal agencies to strengthen research and data standards on women’s health, prioritize investments in women’s health research and galvanize research on new topics, according to the White House.

The new action will also drive research into women’s midlife health and diseases and conditions that are prevalent after menopause, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart attack, and osteoporosis. To do so, Health and Human Services will be directed to increase data collection about women’s midlife health and find ways to improve management of menopause-related issues.

The Food and Drug Administration plans to narrow the gap of product availability for diseases affecting women and issue industry guidance to include women in clinical trials; the Environmental Protection Agency plans to rework its grants process to ensure applicants consider women’s exposure and establish a Women’s Health Community of Practice to coordinate research; and the USDA plans to fund research into early warning signs of maternal mortality.

“I’m not even a betting woman but I’ll bet today is the first time a president of the United States has ever signed an executive order that mentions the words menopause and women’s midlife health in it,” Shriver, the former first lady of California, said to applause. “With the stroke of his pen, women will get the answers and care they have long sought and they so rightly deserve.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Current track