The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund is proud to endorse Lydia Edwards for Boston City Council, District 1 which includes the East Boston, Charlestown, and North End neighborhoods. We asked Lydia a few questions so you could hear about her vision for a healthier Boston.
Why is it important to you that Boston residents have access to health care providers like Planned Parenthood?
LE: Boston has some of the best hospitals and health centers in the world but many communities in this city still face barriers to the adequate health care services they need and deserve.
At points in my life when I was starting my career or I was still in school, I counted on Planned Parenthood to help me stay informed and healthy. As a former Planned Parenthood patient myself, I know firsthand how vital Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is to our Boston neighborhoods.
The nonjudgmental and inclusive services provided by Planned Parenthood are essential to so many Boston residents. Any plan to strengthen the City of Boston must include protecting and expanding access to reproductive care at PPLM and other health care providers.
How will you protect reproductive rights and access to women’s health care in the City of Boston?
LE: I am – and will continue to be - a vocal and proactive advocate for policies that improve health care access for women and all people in the City of Boston.
I trust women to make the health care decisions that are right for them. Women face deeply personal and sometimes complex decisions and I firmly believe they should be making those decisions for themselves. A woman’s private medical decisions must be left to her, her family, her faith, and her doctor.
Health outcomes and disparities are tied to factors such as economic opportunity, discrimination, and other institutional barriers. What can the City of Boston do to address these interconnected factors, reduce health disparities, and help residents stay healthy?
LE: We must approach the topic of reproductive health as part of the larger conversations surrounding social, economic, racial and gender justice.
As Boston City Councilor, I would advocate for the city to invest in a grassroots campaign that establishes health justice organizers in our communities and creates multilingual resources in order to meet people where they are and empower them to take care of themselves. If we have the community leading the conversation on health, we will reduce health disparities and overcome institutional barriers in Boston.
We’re facing a national political climate that threatens the rights and well-being of Boston’s communities. What will you do as a Boston City Councilor to stand up against these attacks?
LE: Throughout my career, I’ve always advocated for the rights and well-being of our local communities – regardless of who our president is. I played a prominent role in establishing the state’s domestic workers’ bill of rights, which created labor standards for workers — mostly women — who, for too long, worked without the basic protections we all deserve. In addition to my domestic workers’ advocacy, I’ve been an outspoken advocate on a number of issues – including the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the transgender nondiscrimination law.
As District 1’s Boston City Councilor, I will always stand up for the health and well-being of all of the Boston residents who may be under attack by a Trump presidency.
I’m particularly focused on how the city can meet the needs of our young people who deserve to learn how to stay healthy and build healthy relationships. It’s time we leverage the role that schools can play in building healthy communities and thriving cities. I promise to be a strong advocate for prioritizing their health by making sure schools are providing age-appropriate, medically accurate, and comprehensive sex education.
Is there anything else you want Boston voters to know about you?
LE: I am honored to be endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts and will never stop fighting for women’s access to health care, for immigrants, for low-income communities, and for economic justice for all.
Mark your calendars: If you live in District 1 in Boston, make sure to get the polls and vote Lydia Edwards for Boston City Council on September 26th.
Learn more and get involved with the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund's electoral organizing to get local champions elected here.