As a doctor and public health leader who has supported women’s health services across the country and around the world, I know how difficult it can be to build and maintain successful programs in hostile environments. And make no mistake, the current political climate is a hostile environment. From the very first week in office – when they reinstated the Global Gag Rule – the Trump Administration has been working to dismantle women’s health rights. Since firing that first shot, the administration has taken steps to limit birth control access, appointed anti-abortion rights activists to key posts, and vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood.
All of this is abhorrent to me personally, but even more so in my role as a doctor. I’ve seen firsthand the direct impact quality services has on women’s lives. And I’ve seen the “death-by-a-thousand-cuts” kind of legislation and regulations that effectively limits women’s options – especially poor and minority women – to live a healthy life. Burdensome and unnecessary bureaucratic requirements on facilities, or artificial and arbitrary staffing requirements that do nothing to enhance medical care, safety, and health outcomes, but rather increase the costs and decrease the feasibility of services in order to shut down access, must be called out for what they are. I promise to be your voice calling them out in Congress and will be a tireless advocate for women’s rights to make decisions about their own care, with these as my priorities:
- Ensuring that every woman’s health decisions are between her and her doctor;
- Fighting any and all efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, including calling out the anti-competitive and illegal nature of artificially removing qualified organizations from competition for U.S. funds and government contracting. Its funding, including Title X funding and the ability to bill Medicaid and Medicare like any other health provider, must be protected;
- Protecting, expanding, and improving the Affordable Care Act, with an eye toward ensuring that women have access to birth control and comprehensive women’s health services, regardless who employs them;
- Supporting innovation such as telemedicine to connect with difficult-to-reach individuals, especially those in the 8th District’s more rural areas;
- Reversing the re-implementation of the Global Gag Rule, which bans international organizations that receive U.S. funding from offering any information about abortions or working with any providers that provide information or abortion services funded by other sources. This not only hurts women around the world, but greatly hampers the ability of organizations such as PEPFAR and others to fight HIV, malaria, and promote healthcare in general;
- De-incentivizing states to institute artificial, non-evidence-based barriers to healthcare access by penalizing their federal healthcare funding;
- Standing up against individual state laws that limit women’s healthcare access and options by making them travel great distances or even to other states to receive care;
- Oppose bureaucratic pre-abortion requirements such as state-scripted counseling, waiting periods, and mandatory ultrasounds, whose sole purpose is to create barriers, distort the evidence, and manipulate women away from making their own decisions;
- Require “truth in advertising” so that so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that do not include licensed medical professionals cannot falsely advertise themselves as providers of medical services in order to trick women into coming through their doors;
- Fighting any efforts to undo Roe v. Wade and standing in opposition to any state or individual who would limit or put up barriers to a woman’s right to have an abortion.