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Reproductive rights meet economic reality

by guest writer Fran Moreland Johns

“We couldn’t come up with the money,” one weary 19-year-old told me. Accessing a safe abortion for Mandy, this young mother who was already caring for a severely disabled toddler, would have meant traveling for hundreds of miles and losing several days’ pay from her minimum-wage job. Unable to make that work and unsuccessful at one dangerous attempt to self-abort, Mandy now struggles with two babies under two years old and says she’ll do her best not to get pregnant again.

A constitutional right should not be denied those without money or resources. But it’s happening in state after state and is a growing injustice at every level. For a federal judge to say, as Justice Edith Jones of Texas did earlier this year, that traveling several hundred miles to access safe abortion is no problem because “the roads are flat and you can drive 75 mph,” is a slap in the face of women everywhere.

Judge Jones doesn’t know Mandy. Or, in all likelihood, any of the thousands of other women whose rights are denied because they don’t happen to have fast cars and gas money.

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Access Denied: Supreme Court Turns a Blind Eye to Women’s Health Care Needs

Once again the Supreme Court turned its back on the health care needs of women, especially young women and low-income women. In a split decision, the Supreme Court put at jeopardy women’s access to contraception. Today’s ruling allows some privately owned, for-profit corporations to exploit our country’s tradition of religious freedom and dictate the health coverage of their employees. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Products challenged the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage requirement, alleging that it violates their companies’ religious rights, all the while disregarding their employee’s religious freedom and right to privacy and basic health services.

“Today’s ruling sanctioned an insidious appropriation of individual rights, establishing an expansive religious-right-of-corporations,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth. Read more

 
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