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5 Issues to Watch This Election

Our rights and freedoms are on the line — but we decide our future. Learn why we’re mobilizing to make our largest-ever electoral effort.

1. Abortion Access

For years, anti-abortion politicians in the Trump-Pence administration and elsewhere have fought to pack the federal courts, misinform voters, and undercut the political power of populations that support abortion rights. Their schemes have yielded results; in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a case which could make the protections of Roe v. Wade virtually meaningless, taking the country one step closer to making abortion impossible to access.

But abortion opponents who proclaim the fight for reproductive rights a lost cause could hardly be more wrong. More than three-quarters of voters support say abortion should remain safe and legal — and at the polls in 2018 and 2019 they made their wishes clear, electing champions for reproductive rights down the ballot.

As anti-abortion politicians fall increasingly out of step with the American public — passing state laws that attempt to ban abortion at a point before most people know they’re pregnant, or even outright, despite there being no state in which banning abortion is popular — we’re ready to sustain the unstoppable grassroots momentum to protect reproductive freedom, and to prove that access to health care, including safe, legal abortion, remains a winning issue for candidates.

2. Birth Control

The Trump-Pence administration has pushed to roll back access to birth control. In 2019, it used an unethical gag rule to force Planned Parenthood and other providers out of the Title X program — which provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes, including people who couldn’t otherwise afford health care services on their own. 

The administration’s agenda, shared by foes of sexual and reproductive health care access at other levels of government, puts decades of women’s economic and social advancement at risk. Undermining birth control coverage makes it harder for millions of people to get the care they need. To name just one example, 40% of Black women between ages 18 and 44 say they can only afford to pay up to $10 for birth control out of pocket. Research shows that when people have access to birth control, they can take better care of themselves or their families, support themselves financially, complete their education, and advance in their careers.

No matter who you are, where you live, or how much income you earn, everyone — including youth, people of color, and LGBTQ people — deserves access to the full range of birth control options. Basic reproductive health care shouldn’t be up for debate.

3. Planned Parenthood

2.4 million patients each year rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential services: birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and more. Nearly one in five women in the United States relies on Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives.

But the Trump-Pence administration and other anti-abortion politicians seek to block people’s access to that care. From efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood (by blocking users of public health-care programs from obtaining care at Planned Parenthood health centers) to the administration’s Title X gag rule, which has made it impossible for Planned Parenthood and many other providers to participate in the nation’s program for affordable birth control, anti-abortion politicians have made pawns of folks with low incomes, those living in rural areas, people of color, and others with disproportionately limited options for care — punishing them in an effort to harm Planned Parenthood. 

When patients can’t seek care from Planned Parenthood, many go without care altogether — and public health suffers. Elected officials need to know that voters expect them to protect — not undermine — the public’s access to care.

4. Health Equity

Health care is a human right. Everyone deserves access to the highest standards of care at a truly affordable cost. But the Trump-Pence administration, and its allies in Congress and state governments, have worked relentlessly to undermine access to health care. 

From the very start, the Trump-Pence administration has sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or have it overturned, jeopardizing health coverage for more than 20 million people in the United States. Making matters worse, the administration has launched — and continues to launch — regulatory attacks that impose barriers to care for immigrants, people with low incomes, LGBTQ people, survivors of sexual violence, and more. 

No one in the United States should have to forgo health care because of who they are, where they live, how much they make, or their immigration status. We must elect leaders who will work alongside Planned Parenthood and others to ensure that all people have access to reproductive and sexual health care.

5. Sex Ed

More than 93 percent of parents describe comprehensive sex education in schools as extremely important to them. But under the Trump-Pence administration, sex education and birth control programs have faced cuts — with public funds instead directed to programs that promote abstinence and the “rhythm method.”

Administration officials have sought to cut funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), an evidence-based initiative with a proven record of encouraging safer sex. Grants through the TPPP were abruptly terminated — throwing programs that serve sexual violence survivors, LGBTQ teens, youth of color, residents of rural areas and others who face barriers to care into jeopardy.  

No abstinence-only-until-marriage program has been shown to have any impact on young people’s behavior. Even more importantly, withholding critical, possibly life-saving information about STIs and HIV puts young people’s health and future at risk. All young people deserve sex education — and that depends on electing officials who know that youth need more sexual and reproductive health information, education, and services, not less.