The Trump-Pence administration and anti-abortion politicians in Congress and state legislatures have prioritized blocking women from accessing safe, legal abortion. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we elect reproductive health champions in 2018.
In the past year alone, Congress tried to pass multiple bills attempting to ban abortion — most recently including a cruel 20-week abortion ban. State legislatures across the country passed more than 60 anti-abortion measures in 2017, reflecting extreme ideologues’ commitment to making it difficult, if not impossible, to access abortion. Meanwhile, the White House has set up a government office with the intent to allow discrimination against women seeking abortion. And if that’s not bad enough, the Trump-Pence administration has routinely (and illegally) tried to block young immigrant women in ICE detention from accessing safe, legal abortion.
Together, these restrictions have dangerous consequences that ultimately block access to safe, legal abortion for many people across the country, with women of color, women living in rural areas, and women with low incomes disproportionately affected.
Let’s be clear: around 70 percent of the country supports access to safe, legal abortion.
It’s time to get politicians out of our personal health care decisions by voting anti-abortion politicians out of office and electing leaders who will protect and expand this constitutional right.
Access to Health Care
Since day one of the Trump-Pence administration, politicians in Congress and in statehouses across the country have jeopardized our health care by launching attacks on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
During the summer of 2017, extreme politicians in Congress attempted to repeal the ACA and gut Medicaid by trying to pass a Trumpcare bill three different times. This bill would have stripped health care from tens of millions of people. Though it was met with historic resistance that stopped the bill in its tracks, politicians continue to undermine our rights. This includes the Trump-Pence administration’s reversal of the ACA’s birth control benefit (which helped more than 62 million women access no-copay birth control), and attacks on Medicaid in tax bills and budget plans. Similar things are happening in states led by anti-women politicians, who look for every opportunity to slash Medicaid and impose cruel Medicaid work requirements, which the Trump-Pence administration is pushing for.
These attacks have terrible consequences for women and families trying to access basic health care. Approximately one in five women of reproductive age rely on Medicaid to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, and maternity care. Medicaid is also the largest payer of reproductive health care coverage and is the source of coverage for essential care for nearly half of women giving birth.
Racism and discriminatory public policy have created systemic barriers that result in women of color disproportionately relying on Medicaid. As a result, attacks on Medicaid hurt women of color most. Approximately 31 percent of Black women and 27 percent of Latina women ages 15 to 44 are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 16 percent of White women. Medicaid is also vital for the health of LGBTQ communities, which often face barriers like discrimination and harassment when accessing health care. Thanks to Medicaid expansion, over 500,000 lesbian, bisexual, and gay people gained health care coverage under Medicaid between 2013 and 2016.
Protecting Planned Parenthood Patients
Every year, 2.4 million patients rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health care services: birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and more. Nearly one in five women in the United States relies on Planned Parenthood at some time in her life.
The Trump-Pence Administration and extreme politicians in Congress want to block patients from accessing that care. An overwhelming majority of Americans consistently oppose these political attacks — but that hasn’t stopped officials from pushing again and again for measures that would leave many with nowhere to turn for essential care.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer.
In reality, what “defunding” means is blocking patients who rely on public health care programs, such as Medicaid and Title X, from getting their care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Around 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients rely on such programs to access care.
If patients’ access to Planned Parenthood health centers is blocked, there simply aren’t enough reproductive health-care providers to pick up the slack. People with low incomes, patients of color, people in rural areas, and the LGBTQ community — who are more likely to rely on public health programs due to discriminatory and racist public policies — would take the brunt, depriving many of anywhere to go for basic care.
In 2018, we’ve got to keep up the fight to protect our reproductive health and rights. Our elected officials need to know we want them to protect, not obstruct, access to care.
It’s essential health care that the vast majority of women will use over the course of their lifetime. It lets people have sex without fear of pregnancy, it treats and manages medical conditions — and it advances economic opportunity for all.
But the Trump administration has pushed to roll back access to birth control, whether through employer-provided health insurance, federal programs such as Title X, or Planned Parenthood health centers. It’s an agenda that puts decades of women’s economic and social advancement at risk.
Folks in communities that have historically been discriminated against could bear a disproportionate impact from this administration’s attacks on birth control access. No matter who you are, where you live, or what your income is, everyone — including the young, Black women, Latinas, and LGBTQ people — deserves access to the full range of birth control options.
We need elected officials who know that birth control is basic health care — something your boss, a member of Congress, or a president has no business controlling. Political leaders need to understand that millions rely on birth control in order to live independent, healthy lives and plan their families.
We’re fighting because the attacks on affordable access to birth control are just plain bad for all of us: the general public, employees, businesses. Basic reproductive health care shouldn’t be up for debate.
Health Equity for All
Everyone should have access to health care, no matter what. Far too often, however, systemic barriers and legacies of oppression stand in the way. At all levels of government, 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 — regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund stands in solidarity with communities that are fighting for more equity, empowerment, and access to care — including:
Immigrant rights and health care go hand-in-hand — and some immigrants in detention are literally dying because of barriers to accessing health care.
Through attack after attack on immigrant communities, this administration has set out to sow fear of deportation, harassment, and scrutiny — creating a climate that discourages immigrants from seeking the care they need. Among the cruelest moves: rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which endangers protection status for more than 800,000 immigrant youth. The Trump administration also moved to illegally block young immigrant women detained by the government from accessing safe, legal abortion.
In 2018, we must elect candidates who stand with all Planned Parenthood patients – including immigrants and their families.
Survivors of Sexual Violence
Survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence seek care at Planned Parenthood health centers every day. As the leading advocate for those health centers, we understand firsthand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on countless individuals. We believe that survivors, including women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and people of color — all of whom are more likely to experience sexual assault than other people — deserve to be heard and treated with dignity and respect.
As part of our national reckoning with sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, elected officials must confront outdated policies that allow a culture of abuse to fester in government and dissuade survivors from speaking out. We must insist — with both our voices and our votes — that government officials can no longer allow sexual misconduct or abusive language without consequence.
To the elected officials who would stand in the way as we fight for dignity and respect, we say: Time’s up.
Planned Parenthood Votes is working to elect reproductive health champions who will fight to protect our right to access quality, affordable health care. Sign up to get important election information about how to get more involved to #TakeItBack November 6.
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