Big Win for Women’s Healthcare

Last week, a new law was passed in efforts to make preventative healthcare more accessible to all women. The law requires that health insurance providers must provide birth control for no co-pay. In addition, health insurance providers must also cover breast pumps for nursing women, annual “well-woman” physicals, screenings for viruses that cause cervical cancer and diabetes during pregnancy, counseling services for domestic violence survivors, and other services without co-pay. The law is based on existing scientific and medical literature which harps on the benefits of preventative health care. While the monetary value will be made up by spreading the cost of other insurance holders and result in higher premiums, it ultimately helps ensure women are able to access the necessary resources for preventing unintended pregnancies and other preventable illnesses/diseases.You can read more about the piece of legislation here.

Through preventing unintended pregnancies and providing the access to necessary contraceptives and information, we are empowering the women in our communities. We know that unintended pregnancy is often the reason girls drop out of school or don’t pursue additional educational opportunities. It also allows women to plan and space births allowing their bodies to recover after a pregnancy. Access to birth control and reproductive services through health insurance is even more important as we see free or cost-reduced providers (such as Planned Parenthood) come under attack and lose funding. In addition, providing easier access to counseling services is another huge win! Not only will this allow survivors access to much needed counseling services, but it could also allow providers easier access or leverage to obtain necessary specialized training on domestic violence.

However, there are a few additional items to consider. Since the cost will be made up elsewhere or in higher premiums, this could limit who is able to afford health insurance. This also does not provide any additional access to the almost 53 million uninsured Americans. In short, the new law is a huge win and step in the right direction. It’s a testament to what can be achieved if we continue to work for equality for all walks of life. We will celebrate this victory and use it as motivation to keep moving and working for change.

Examining Our Privilege

Something we encourage all people doing social change work to do is examine their own privilege(s) and how it effects how their relationships. Check out this youth created and produced video about first world ‘problems’.

Note: the ‘first world’ is a term used for ‘developed’ or ‘industrialized’ nations. The counter is usually the ‘third world’ which refers to ‘developing’ nations. Another great exercise for examining racial privilege is Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack“. Also a great place for starting conversations on intersections of oppression and racism.

What privileges do you have? In what ways does society make life easier for you due to your race, class, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, education level, gender identity, etc?