In response to states across the country passing laws that restrict access to abortion, women’s reproductive rights have become a key part of presidential candidates’ platforms this year.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker recently released a comprehensive list of actions he would take as president to ensure women have the ability to access and control their own reproductive health care.
His proposals aim to address three main requirements for reproductive freedom: funding, access, and expanding information about services. He also plans to make Roe v. Wade a federal law, rather than just a Supreme Court decision that guides legislation.
“My goal with these actions isn’t just to undo the damage the Trump Administration and Republican state legislatures and governors have caused, but to affirmatively advance reproductive rights and expand access to reproductive care for all,” Booker said in a statement.
Fran Fleck, a long-time Iowa reproductive rights activist, said that in order for women to be treated equally, they should have access to programs and services that meet all of their health care needs.
“Women’s health care is the same as health care for everyone else,” she said. “We have to have a political system that will allow those programs to be available to all providers equally.”
Fleck said any effective plan to protect reproductive health care should rest on funding, access and education.
Booker’s plan touches all of these themes.
The plan supports repealing the Hyde Amendment in his first presidential budget, which would allow women who are on Medicaid to use that funding to cover an abortion.
His plan also guarantees access to contraceptives through the Affordable Care Act, a move that makes contraception available to women who might not be able to afford it. Booker also calls for ending the “gag rule” that prohibits doctors from telling low-income patients how and where to access abortion.
Booker would also undo rules that allow health providers and institutions to refuse certain services to patients, which would expand access to care.
At Sunday’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, Booker addressed abortion rights in his speech.
“We are for every American having health care. And make no mistake, abortion is health care, and health care is a right, not a privilege,” he said.
In addition to those policies, Booker also plans to create an office in the White House which would address barriers to reproductive freedom and advance access to reproductive health care. The office would be called the White House Office of Reproductive Freedom.
Booker’s plan also calls for ending the gag rule the Trump Administration imposed against other countries, as well as restoring U.S. involvement with the United Nations Population Fund which provides maternal health care and family planning services around the world.
“[Reproductive rights] always goes back to: without restrictions,” Fleck said. “So that any decision on health care becomes a decision between the patient, regardless of gender, and the provider.”
by Nikoel Hytrek
Photo by Julie Fleming