Editorial Excerpts
June 2017

Augusta, Maine

A woman who wants to have two children will spend about three years of her life pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or postpartum. She will also spend three decades of her life trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy—and that’s true whether she votes Democratic, Republican, none of the above, or not at all.

Since family planning services are a pillar of any serious public health program, it’s strange to see Republicans in Washington insist that making them harder to get is essential to their idea of healthcare reform.

About half of all pregnancies are unintended, but that neat statistic does not provide a true picture.

Poor women are five times more likely to find themselves in that situation than women who are more well off, largely because of the way that we ration healthcare in this country. A woman with private insurance who gets regular checkups is much more likely to have birth control and family planning counseling than one who gets medical care only when she’s sick.

Planned Parenthood works with anyone who walks through their doors, including people with private health insurance, Medicaid, or no health insurance at all. It provides abortions—a constitutional right—but it also delivers the kind of care that makes abortions unnecessary.

–March 13, 2017

Ames, Iowa

On Jan. 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, making the Hyde Amendment permanent. Until then, this legislation, which prevents federal taxpayer money from funding abortions, had to be renewed every year as part of the federal budget.

Making abortion illegal or more difficult to get will not make the need for abortion go away; it will only make accessing it more dangerous. The legal “end” to abortion that “pro-life” individuals see as their goal will not end the practice of abortion, as defunding clinics like Planned Parenthood that provide contraception services means fewer people have the means to prevent pregnancy.

When Kermit Gosnell’s clearly illegal abortion clinic was exposed in 2013, we got a look at what happens when people desperate to end their pregnancies go to any means possible to accomplish their goal. Yet this type of situation—including the 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide the World Health Organization attributes to unsafe abortion—is what anti-abortion rights proponents willfully ignore in pushing through regulations targeting abortion access.

“Pro-life” policies should afford people full reproductive care from comprehensive sex education in schools, to readily accessible contraception, to safe abortion. But instead, lawmakers empowered by the Trump administration are choosing to prioritize their own statistically unpopular views without regard for those who will demonstrably suffer as a result.

–February 1, 2017

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