Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Political Climate Demands Increased Efforts to Protect Women’s Health, Promote Women’s Economic Security
Press Release

RELEASE: New Political Climate Demands Increased Efforts to Protect Women’s Health, Promote Women’s Economic Security

Washington, D.C. — Women’s health and reproductive rights are under full attack by the Trump-Pence administration and the anti-choice majority in Congress. In 2017 alone, Congress has pushed to eliminate protections for Title X family planning clinics and has introduced legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, just days into his administration, President Donald Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, restricting international family planning providers from offering comprehensive health care. Trump also nominated an anti-choice judge to serve as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, throwing into question women’s constitutionally protected rights as upheld in the landmark Roe V. Wade decision.

Whether politicians acknowledge it or not, when women’s access to health care and family planning resources are attacked, so is their economic security. In response to a new political environment that is hostile to women’s health and reproductive rights, a new report by the Center for American Progress, or CAP, calls for increased efforts at the state and federal levels to protect women’s health. The report also argues that reproductive health, rights, and justice must be integral to a successful 21st-century economic agenda.

“Reproductive health and rights are inextricably linked with economic security. You cannot have one without the other,” said Heidi Williamson, Senior Policy Analyst for the Women’s Health and Rights Program at CAP and co-author of the report. “In attacking a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions or by restricting women’s ability to access affordable, timely care, anti-choice politicians are effectively stunting women’s ability to achieve economic security for themselves and their families.”

As outlined in CAP’s report, a comprehensive agenda to strengthen women’s health and economic security must include five key pillars:

  1. Self-determination, or a person’s ability to control her body, health, and resources in order to pursue opportunity free from violence or coercion.
  2. Access to comprehensive health services, including abortion care.
  3. Affordability of care, especially for low-income and uninsured women.
  4. Parenting with dignity and respect, including the ability to access maternal health and child care options that allow women to effectively parent, and to live free of sexual and domestic violence.
  5. Workplace and caregiving supports, including access to high-quality, affordable child care, affordable higher education, and workplace benefits and protections such as equal pay, paid leave, and caregiving supports.

“Having equitable access to reproductive health care so that women can control their bodies and plan their families is the first step in ensuring that they can also plan for their careers and have equitable access to economic opportunities,” said Kate Bahn, CAP Economist and co-author of the report.

Although the political environment has shifted under the Trump-Pence administration and anti-choice majority in Congress, it is important to reject efforts to roll back women’s rights. CAP’s report puts forth a robust set of state and federal policies to ensure equitable opportunity for all women and families, including protecting the Affordable Care Act, supporting the Title X Family Planning program, expanding Medicaid, repealing the Hyde Amendment and other abortion funding restrictions, and adopting strong workplace standards to improve job quality and give workers the resources and tools they need to live healthy lives, among other actions.

Read the report: “The Pillars of Equity: A Vision for Economic Security and Reproductive Justice” by Heidi Williamson, Kate Bahn, and Jamila Taylor

Related resources:

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Allison Preiss at [email protected] or 202.478.6331.