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Our Commitment to Reproductive Justice

Healthcare-NOW organizes to win a national single-payer healthcare system and stands in solidarity with the movement for reproductive justice, which Sister Song defines as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) took a step forward in requiring all health insurance plans to cover contraception, and categorized a range of maternity care services as “essential health benefits” that must be covered without co-payments and deductibles. These new regulations only benefit those with continuous health insurance coverage, though, and excludes those with “grandfathered” or “grandmothered” insurance plans that are exempted.

Additionally, access to abortion services are highly inequitable based on income, race, geography, insurance status and type – and have become more inequitable since passage of the ACA. While almost 87 percent of employer-sponsored health plans cover medical and surgical abortion services, the “Hyde Amendment” – which has been re-approved every year since 1976 by Congress – prevents federal funds from going towards abortion services. This means that Medicaid and Medicare recipients generally do not have access except in the 17 states that fully fund those services. Furthermore, 25 states ban coverage of abortion services in insurance offered through the state exchanges, and 10 of those states ban abortion coverage in any private insurance plan. Securing reproductive justice requires repealing the Hyde amendment and guaranteeing safe and accessible abortions services at no cost to every woman.

Beyond access to reproductive health services, 3.5 million children still lacked health insurance after implementation of the ACA, and millions more are underinsured.

Achieving a universal, single-payer healthcare system has the potential to dramatically increase equity in access to reproductive health services; to provide universal healthcare for children; and indirectly address broader systems of inequality that undermine reproductive justice by reducing income inequality, improving housing security, job security, and more. Hence, winning access to comprehensive, universal healthcare is integral to our ability to make fundamental, personal decisions about our sexuality, our health, and our family life.

While access to abortion and contraception are critical, Healthcare-NOW acknowledges the limitations of the health insurance system in addressing the totality of reproductive freedom. The movement for reproductive justice was developed by native women and women of color to shift from a narrow “pro-choice” framework – which is focused on the legal right to access abortion services – to address the broader social and economic inequalities that impact women’s reproductive health and ability to control their reproductive lives.

Having inadequate resources leads many of us to avoid pregnancy or to end a pregnancy – even though we would prefer not to do that if we enjoyed adequate income, job security, health care, housing, and education. Often a woman decides she must end a pregnancy because she cannot feed the children she has, let alone another child. Or she may fear that having a child or another child will result in her losing her job. In the U.S. today, 15 million children are being raised in poverty, which profoundly impacts the health future of children, limits their opportunities, and represents an additional, morally unacceptable barrier to the right to have and raise our children.

Many of us, including many low-income women, also decide freely to avoid or to end a pregnancy, based on our own complicated, unique circumstances, and not simply because of income and resource constraints.

Reproductive justice therefore involves addressing broader inequities than those found in the health insurance system. But achieving a universal healthcare system with equitable access to reproductive health services is necessary for achieving reproductive justice.

Healthcare-NOW fights to move from a system in which communities have access to dramatically different coverage depending on their class, race, gender, age, and job status, to a system in which every resident has access to one, comprehensive standard of care in which every resident is invested. Healthcare-NOW is committed to ensuring that this standard embraces and advances reproductive justice goals.

Comments

35 Responses to “Our Commitment to Reproductive Justice”
  1. Karen Stoddard says:

    Agree with the importance of ending discrimination against women and their reproductive rights. Very well stated. Keep fighting and speaking out.

  2. Anne Scheetz says:

    This is very well stated as far as it goes. I urge you to invite comment and additions from the disability rights community, as I am not sure this is adequate to cover the issues they face. If you need help finding people to consult, please let me know and I will look for names, credentials, and contact information. Anne Scheetz, Chicago

  3. The Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision supported a woman’s right to choose. Attacks on that right are unconstitutional but that doesn’t stop the so-called “pro-lifersP. Whose life are the pro? What will they do when adopt the child born to a woman unable to support and protect it? What about the pregnancies due to incest or rape? Who will help care for the children?

  4. Bettie J. Reina says:

    The overwhelming effort of those now running this country is to return women to a subservient position, dependent on men and unable to control their own lives.

  5. John Scarpa says:

    You have not quite gone far enough!!
    You should include – Stop Male AND Female circumcision AND (big time) getting rid of the reason for Abortion. Abortion will go away by it self. I suggest 50 year imprisonment or removal of the offending organ for convicted rape offenders Male or Female & I have heard of both.
    think on that.

  6. Jule Caylor says:

    Your position on RvW is well stated and morally correct. We MUST HAVE individual freedom in family planning for all sexes. Civilized society can tolerate no other condition.

  7. Anita White says:

    Men should STOP trying to control Women’s Bodies.

  8. Cena Buchannon says:

    Excellent. ALL health insurance plans must cover contraception. With the opioid epidemic, female addicts should be encouraged to have an implant to prevent pregnancy until they are able to get sober.

  9. tanya says:

    I think women need to demand control over decision making on policies and laws regarding our body and our family. Too long men have been making these decisions. It is time their voice is cut out of this.

    Further, women’s choices must not be limited to the drug/surgery model which has proven extremely destructive to our health and ability to produce viable, healthy offspring. For example GMOs and glyphosate are clearly showing horrific effects on women’s ability to get pregnant and carry to term. Women need holistic health information that teaches how to eat for health free from the corporate model which still pushes inflammatory sugars, for one example.

  10. joyce shiffrin says:

    BECAUSE EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD HAS THE RIGHT TO BE IN OPTIMAL HEALTH IN BOTH MIND AND BODY EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HER LIFE FOR ALWAYS, AND ONE WAY IS FOR HER TO VISIT HER DOCTOR/DENTIST AT LEAST ONCE PER YEAR FOR AS LONG AS SHE WANTS FOR ALWAYS!!!

  11. Don Richardson, M.D. says:

    I suspect the men making decisions about women’s needs are closet wimps or just very undesirable guys
    who think they are getting even with women for their rejection, women they can’t have. They also want to punish gays, maybe because they are afraid they may be latent gays themselves. It’s ironic that these non-thinkers want to prevent birth control and abortion–not understanding that birth control PREVENTS
    abortion. We desperately need population control: 7.4 billion humans on Earth is eight times the number we can sustain over time at a decent standard of living. These sociopaths need education, but they want to cut that, too.

  12. Bruce Watson says:

    It’s immoral, unethical, a violation of the first amendment (forces a religious view upon a citizen), and just plain wrong, for the government to get between a woman and her doctor.

    Her decisions on health care, birth control, and abortion if she needs one are her decisions and hers alone, with advice (but not consent) from her doctor if she wishes to consult. That’s it.

    This isn’t just a woman’s issue either. Men are effected just as much and have a nearly equal stake in women having the right to choose. All people have the right to control their bodies, men and women, black and white, rich and poor, no matter where they live.

  13. Silina says:

    Kudos to you, absolutely we need a Medicare for All type of health care that includes contraception and abortion services. Abortion is still legal, and for that I am grateful, but it is becoming harder to access, especially for poor or middle class women.
    The Hyde Amendment must be overturned.
    All health care must be covered, including rehab for those with dependency problems.
    For a wealthy nation, such as ours, to have lower longevity that other advanced nations, and higher infant and maternal mortality than other advanced nations is a disgrace.
    Health care is a right, not merely a privilege.

  14. Birth control is a fundamental health issue. Responsible family planning takes the guess work out of pregnancies. Unwanted pregnancies are the leading cause of abortions. Why not prevent these with adequate birth control. To pretend that people who use birth control are doing so to be promiscuous is a giant myth. This is not a moral issue it is an economic one.

  15. don white says:

    Abortion is murder and so call birth control destroys the meaning of marriage

  16. Dave Mills says:

    If all the folks making decisions for others would only let those others speak for themselves, we would not be in this mess!

  17. Judy Moreland says:

    I believe in a single payer healthcare system. I also believe in nonviolence and thus do not think “reproductive justice” fits well with abortion. The terminology “a woman’s right to choose” is also painful for me to hear. I am not condemning anyone who has an abortion but do not believe it is the best solution.

  18. Joan Lobell says:

    It would be better if a point was made, even if only in written attitude, that anyone’s reproductive decisions should not be made by anyone other than those whose lives would be affected by those decisions. Congress is still mostly male and white, with an unfortunate dis-understanding and perversion of Jesus’s messages in the professed “Christianity” of the Tea Party and others. Also, separation of church and state should not be violated in any governmental actions.

    The US Military spends more on male-enhancement drugs than it does on transgender reassignment or on female reproductive concerns, which shows a clear bias for male domination of reproduction. This inequality and the idea that reproductive decisions should be made by government are absurd at the very least.

    The current statements here seem too apologetic and cowering which signals to any readers that they come from a place of weakness and low expectations, thus are easily ignored by anyone on the fence.

    Make it clear that many current and proposed reproductive laws/rules in government are ridiculous, misogynistic, offensive, and promote overpopulation without regard to who will be caring for the excess children it pretends to defend in “pro-life” hype, or how it will assist mothers (many who are single parents, and working) in particular to raise all these children, including some they might not have wanted. Also, free, first class childcare for infants and toddlers should be included with all maternity-considered legislation.

  19. Matt Shapiro says:

    Your strong position on the inclusion of the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, in Expanded and Improved Medicare for All is the proper answer to the only legitimate criticism of Medicare for All that I have heard.

    Had the Colorado initiative included abortion funding, I believe it would have succeeded.

    The “Each Woman Act” should be combined with H.R.676.

  20. Helen Harshman-Edwards says:

    We must not and will not go back. Reproduction decisions belong to women. Agree with a well written statement,

  21. John D. says:

    Yes, Single Payer National Insurance is the only way in which US Healthcare should be going. However to take the most number of people with us, we cannot and must not dismiss the legitimate and ethical concerns of those who are uncomfortable with a simple ‘abortion on demand’ approach. Let us not kid ourselves, the issue of competing moral priorities is not simply and easily dismissed, and I trust those of you who head up this kind of initiative will take that very squarely on board.

    It seems that, as with so many aspects of society today, we are being forced to take sides in a “black or white” approach (if you will forgive that particular metaphor applied here) which ignores that there are perfectly valid moral objections and concerns which ‘pro life’ advocates have to a ‘pro choice’ approach, and vice versa. To ignore this may mean the difference between a permanent ‘stalemate’ which benefits the current sorry state of American health insurance, and a workable and agreeable foundation for including the MOST number of people who can champion the need for fundamental and necessary change in a Single Payer direction.

  22. Sibyll Gilbert says:

    The statement seems to ignore the presence of MEN. Is this not a male issue as well? Does any intelligent man want a woman who stays in the kitchen, having babies, and submitting to his every whim?

    Needs input from and support from the male perspective, and the welfare of children.

    Then how about religion? Christians say they believe in Jesus Christ, but he respected women, and they loved him. Who stayed with him at the end at the Cross? and who was the first to meet the risen Christ? Who said “Judge not”.

  23. Franklin Ray says:

    I am truly Christian and I know that abortion is against God’s rule. If they don’t want the child then give birth to it and give it up for adoption, don’t kill it!

  24. Yes your work for all people, regardless of their age, education, religion, political positions and non conformists or believers is inspiring and merits support. Our USA history demonstrated how proclaiming high principles like equality could still be denied to to some not considered human. .
    Unfortunately the same blatant contradiction exists today. It is amazing to see the denial of the right to life to children by accepting meaningless statements like the ‘mothers right to control her body’. Biology 101 admits an unborn child is not part of the mother’s body any more than that of the father’s.
    It is still against our Law to harm these children through such acts as heavy alcohol or illegal drug use—though through mental tricks it is legal to kill them.
    There is growing support for disposing of the aged next—it is being popularized. Next will be the infirm or mentally disabled. There are enough forces working against the values people have lived by . Why not just continue your good work for all people?

    Edward Briody

  25. Robert Helmick says:

    I agree 100% with “Our Commitment to Reproductive Justice “.

  26. Michele Sterling says:

    I believe that the pro- life movement is more of a pro birth movement bc they don’t care about life as long as the fetus is born it can then have no health care or other support !
    This is a great platform for what I see as fair and humane

  27. J says:

    This looks good, but remember that some trans men and non-binary people can also get pregnant. We need access to quality reproductive care too!

  28. Christie Cleveland says:

    Single payer healthcare system is the most important priority to start equalizing health care among people living in US. I think we should focus on that issue first, and then the other issues (also very important) can be tackled later. Reproductive rights are such a divisive issue, trying to include these very important rights could keep the single payer healthcare from being passed.

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