Biden pushes for expansion in women’s health research

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 4:06 AM

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will issue an executive order on Monday expanding U.S. government research on women’s health, while spending $200 million next year to better understand issues including sexual and reproductive conditions.

Biden is also ordering his administration to report on progress they are making to erase gender gaps in research and to study how to use artificial intelligence to improve women’s health research, according to an administration document summarizing the order.

“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 White House said.

Women globally live 5 years longer than men on average but spend 25% more of their lives in poor health, according to the World Economic Forum and McKinsey. They remain underrepresented in clinical trials and conditions affecting women are researched less than those that impact men.

Biden has asked Congress for $12 billion in new funding for women’s health research, but new financial commitments are hard to come by in a politically divided legislature during an election year. The $200 million investment announced on Monday will take place in the 2025 fiscal year, which starts this October.

The Democrat is seeking another four-year term in November’s election against Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Women make up more than half of the electorate and Democrats think attacks on women’s healthcare could animate voters in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade abortion rights in 2022.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Editing by Franklin Paul)