WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lawmakers in nearly every state are undermining instead of fostering economic security for women and families by denying them the abortion coverage and workplace supports they need, according to an analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families. Women of color are disproportionately affected, the analysis concludes.
Released to mark the 40th year under the Hyde Amendment, A Double Bind: When States Deny Abortion Coverage and Fail to Support Expecting and New Parents identifies obstacles faced by low-income women, many of whom struggle without insurance coverage for abortion care, paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and pregnancy accommodation laws. The Hyde Amendment, which denies Medicaid funding for abortion care, is in place in 35 states and the District of Columbia; just 15 states use state-only Medicaid funds to cover abortion care.
"Every one of those 35 states is failing women. Forty years of the Hyde Amendment is 40 years of a shameful, callous public policy that pushes women deeper into poverty and exacerbates health disparities," said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness. "When a woman who was denied abortion coverage cannot keep her job because her employer refuses to make reasonable accommodations for her pregnancy – when she has no paid sick days and no paid family and medical leave – the deck is stacked against her. The failure of so many states to provide abortion coverage and workplace supports conspires to put and keep women in poverty."
The new analysis finds that many states further restrict women's access to abortion coverage, even beyond the Hyde Amendment. At the same time, few states have passed laws that improve upon inadequate federal law by providing paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and strong pregnancy accommodations. As a result, in most states women are denied both abortion coverage and access to public policies that support expecting and new parents in the workplace. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming have especially failed to foster women's economic security, the analysis concludes.
Conversely, the states with the fewest restrictions on abortion coverage tend to offer stronger workplace protections and supports. California and New York have the most expansive workplace protections for expecting and new parents, and both provide state Medicaid coverage for abortion care.
"For too long, lawmakers have been playing politics with women's health and ignoring the urgent need for family friendly workplace policies," said National Partnership Vice President Sarah Lipton-Lubet. "The consequences are very clear and very harmful and women of color are disproportionately impacted; they are at higher risk for unintended pregnancy, more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid, and disproportionately without access to paid time off to address health needs. Lawmakers in Congress and the states must do better."
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SOURCE National Partnership for Women & Families