Biden’s Executive Order Is a Historic Investment in Women’s Health

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Biden’s Executive Order Is a Historic Investment in Women’s Health featured image
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On March 18, President Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to expand investment and research into women’s health issues. According to the White House, the order will expand research and data standards, and invest in new research on women’s health, particularly those issues that occur during and after menopause.

Historically, the disparity between men’s and women’s health has been a big problem.

“It is long past time to ensure women get the answers they need when it comes to their health—from cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases to menopause-related conditions,” explains the White House. “These directives will ensure women’s health is integrated and prioritized across the federal research portfolio and budget, and will galvanize new research on a wide range of topics, including women’s midlife health.”

The $200 million investment in research into women’s health issues seeks to close the gaps in women’s health care.

“Because it really matters. Because we are focused on supporting women together,” Biden said during comments on Monday.

The Executive Order

Funding research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the executive order directs new research into menopause and post-menopause. We don’t have a lot of research currently into health conditions that occur around this time. That leaves many women high and dry in terms of health care. Think of the high rate of heart disease and the unbearable symptoms of menopause.

The executive order also directs agencies to include more women in clinical trials. The reason has to do with fertility. In 1977, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance excluding most women of “childbearing potential” from things like drug trials. That policy was rescinded in 1993. In recent years, agencies have tried to include more women. But they still fall short of equal representation.

“Women make up between 29 and 34 percent of participants in early stage drug testing,” explains a recent study. “Women’s exclusion from pharmaceutical clinical trials can lead to more frequent and serious adverse drug reactions in women after a product is available on the market.”

The Future of Women’s Health

With the 2024 election on the horizon and Roe V. Wade on the docket, the Biden administration is doubling-down on women’s health. Biden made it clear that if voters send him a Congress that is willing, he will codify abortion into law.

“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.

Other initiatives, like the The Menopause Research and Equity Act, are already well-underway. Biden also called on Congress to pass $12 billion in funding to create a women’s health fund for the NIH earlier this year.

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