• Karibay Angeles

The Effects of this Political Battle of Women's Health

Women make up 51% of the United States population, and to no one's surprise, women are the most affected by the outcome of this election. Women need stable and affordable healthcare. Therefore, women needed to vote for the candidate that prioritized women's well being and overall health. As if we don't have enough to worry about already. First, we are still experiencing COVID and the worry of being at constant risk of infection, and now women's healthcare. OUR healthcare is coming into question based on promises made in this 2020 election. Let me highlight why women's healthcare is essential: Women, starting from a young age, are under constant pressure over their bodies and what it represents, and sadly some people feel like they have a say over women’s bodies. This is all because we can reproduce and have children if we choose to. Women need birth control and options. We need better quality healthcare to facilitate what we decide to do with our bodies. Whether we choose to protect ourselves from pregnancy while having safe sex or become a parent and take on the responsibility of pregnancy. These are serious topics that we rarely see in the media, but women were heard loud and clear in this election. Our rights are important, a nation's overall health is at risk, and women demand action.

Before I dive into what healthcare will look like, let me enlighten you about what it looks like now. I can't talk about healthcare without mentioning The Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to an article titled The 2020 Presidential Election: Implications for Women's Health by Michelle Long, Amrutha Ramaswamy, and Alina Salganicoff published on October 15, 2020, the ACA "strengthened access to coverage for millions of women in the U.S. The law did away with longstanding policies that insurance plans used to discriminate against women." This law requires plans to include maternity care, and it has no-cost coverage for mammograms and bone density testing in older women, and more. It's especially important to note that this act doesn't allow plans to charge women more than men. Also, it expands Medicare by making it more affordable and accessible to all individuals that need it. It's undoubtedly essential, and without it healthcare won't be the same for anyone.

Now that you know about the ACA, I have to tell you its future is uncertain after this election. You may be asking why it turns out that our current president Donald Trump has it out for the ACA. He wanted to repeal and replace the ACA, and he has no plans for a replacement. However, he did promote short-term healthcare plans that lack ACA's benefits, such as mental health, maternity care, and prescription drugs. Short-term healthcare plans may not provide more attentive care to a patient with long term illness or needs. Examples may include breast cancer treatment or even postpartum trauma.

In contrast, the president-elect Joe Biden also ran in this 2020 election, and he supports to retain and expand ACA. He promotes a plan which is a similar option to Medicare called a "public option" that will take in uninsured adults who are not eligible for Medicare and will finally provide them with an alternative. Also, he wants to increase financial assistance for families under ACA. Former Vice President Joe Biden has the American people's interest in mind, and he thinks long term.

Moreover, In terms of abortion and contraception, women need options. No matter what they choose to do, they want to know they are safe. President Donald Trump is entirely conservative on these matters. He has even issued regulations with exemptions for religious employers when providing their employees with sponsored health insurance, allowing them to abide by the no-contraceptive coverage. This leaves women against the wall, causing a high risk of health complications. These are risks that come with low quality or cheaper options for contraception. He has a similar stance on abortion. He has issue regulations that disqualify providers that refer to abortion and wants to redirect funds to crisis pregnancy centers that don't provide contraception. Unfortunately, if the healthcare system doesn't provide women with options for abortion, some women resort to affordable but risky clinics that may cost them their lives. He also terminated the program Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and gave the funding to abstain until marriage education programs. I can't even begin to tell you what happens when teens are misinformed about sex. There is nothing wrong with abstaining from sex, but it's essential to know that sex and sexuality are natural, and if teens decide to have sex, they should do it safely. This is a greater concern in women because with unsafe sex comes pregnancy.

On the other hand, President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that employers that provide sponsored insurance provide no-cost contraceptives. He is fighting for this to be a requirement, regardless of the employer's beliefs. In terms of abortion, he would revert funds to family planning clinics that provide safe abortions and contraception. These clinics help women immensely, informing them about their options and, most importantly, their rights over their bodies.

Now that the election results are back and we know for sure that president-elect Joe Biden has women's rights within his plan of action for the next four years, we genuinely see the steps forward towards action being made.