A recent poll in Politico shows 79 percent of adults in the U.S. “feel Congress has focused too much on abortion and not enough on things like preventive care, reproductive health and expanding access to birth control.”
This seems like promising statistic for women’s health in our country. However, the poll also revealed only 4 in 10 people would take the defunding of Planned Parenthood into consideration when voting. It seems like now, more than ever, constituents should be voting for candidates who support women’s health and work towards comprehensive health care.
For example, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House. Though it aims to end abortion funding, it also has many detrimental effects on all aspects of women’s reproductive health. On the state level, Virginia’s General Assembly passed new legislation during the 2011 session to limit access to safe, legal abortion by singling out abortion providers for new, unnecessary regulations. This bill came in addition to a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion care and the renewal of nearly $900,000 in funding for failed, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in our state.
While it’s reassuring the majority of Americans believe the policy focus should shift towards reproductive rights and preventive care, it’s discouraging that our elected officials spend so much time focusing on restricting women’s access to health care, instead of working on legislation that would protect and promote the well-being of everyone in this country.
This will surely be a critical year inVirginiafor turning the tide back in favor of women’s health. We currently have 92 legislators who are either mixed- or anti-choice. If we lose even two seats in the state Senate, we can expect the McDonnell Administration and its allies will launch a full-scale assault on women’s health in our state. It is essential that in the upcoming statewide elections Virginians vote for candidates that protect and not restrict education and health access for the women of the Commonwealth.
Maybe in the years ahead, with a little luck, this poll will read, “100 percent of elected officials are concerned with promoting and protecting women’s reproductive health, and 100 percent of Americans have access to contraception and preventive care they need and deserve.” We can start that trend here in Virginia.
Be sure to attend our next volunteer orientation on June 14 inAlexandria to learn more about what we will be doing to protect women’s health inVirginia this year and beyond.
And if you missed it, check out our new blog series profiling Virginia’s state politicians and their views and actions on women’s health.