This election was a rebuttal to those politicians and activists who are trying to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights and health, but it was also a sobering reminder that women’s basic reproductive health care is under siege and at risk. On November 6th, women sent a clear message that our right to truly be equal participants in society, our right to control our bodies and therefore our lives, cannot and will not be taken for granted.
After we pause to celebrate, we must look to the future and how we will advance real access to comprehensive reproductive health care for all women. A woman should be able to access safe abortion – in her community and without unnecessary medical procedures and delays. Yet in many states, women are forced to travel long distances, undergo biased counseling and unnecessary invasive procedures, and deal with needless and insulting waiting periods.
No woman’s decision should be made for her because she can’t afford abortion care. For too many women, that’s exactly what happens, and we cannot rest until we repeal the discriminatory and harmful Hyde Amendment banning coverage of abortion in Medicaid.
The election victory was not untarnished. In Montana, voters approved an amendment to create a burdensome parental notification requirement that takes away young women’s rights and endangers their health. Montana became the 39th state requiring parental involvement in a young woman’s abortion decision. Even as we move forward, new barriers are being put up.
We look to our champions who stood with us, and the new ones who are now joining us, to stay vigilant in this fight. Women did not ask for this fight, but it is one we will continue – and November 6th was a step in the right direction.