Unintended pregnancies are far too common in this country. The government should be doing everything it can to reduce the number through common-sense measures such as comprehensive sex education and access to contraception. It should also make sure that women are the ones making important decisions about their health care, including on abortion and contraception—not the government. By voting, women can ensure government policies and programs do not stand in the way of women making important life decisions for themselves and getting the care they need.
Millions of women have unmet reproductive health care needs.
- Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended.
- Each year, 750,000 teens in the United States become pregnant.
- One in four young women between the ages of 14 and 19 has a sexually transmitted infection.
- Some insurance plans still do not cover the full range of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives.
Women need the government to expand – not limit – their access to reproductive health care and information.
- The new health care law, when fully implemented, is expected to provide no-cost coverage of contraceptives to women with private health insurance, but efforts are already underway to repeal this new law and eliminate this and other protections.
- The federal government now dedicates funding for evidence-based sex education that helps young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to make responsible decisions about their health and lives. At the same time, however, money is still going to states for abstinence-only programs that censor information about contraceptives—information that young people need to prevent unintended pregnancies and protect their health.
- Women continue to face restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. Some lawmakers may try to ease these restrictions, while others will try to enact even more onerous restrictions and prohibit women from using even their own private funds to pay for comprehensive insurance plans.
Women need a government that will protect Roe v. Wade.
- In 2007, the Supreme Court issued a decision that cut back on the core protection for women’s health at the heart of Roe v. Wade and allowed the federal government to override the medical decisions made by a woman and her doctor.
- If Roe v. Wade is overturned outright or so eroded that it exists in name only, individual states – or the federal government nationwide – could pass bans on abortion itself or such severe restrictions that women’s access to safe and legal abortion would disappear. So far in 2010, nine states are considering bans on abortion in anticipation of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
If women vote, Washington will listen.
The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been working to advance and protect women’s legal rights since 1972. NWLC takes no position on candidates or elections, and nothing herein should be construed as an endorsement of any candidate or party.