At this point it’s cliché to say there Is “so much at stake” in the next elections, but only because it is painfully true. In addition to determining how (or if) the United States is recovering from the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the outcome of the vote on November 3 will also have a major impact on Americans reproductive rights and sexual health.

To help us better understand how reproductive rights are threatened in the next election – and what we can do about it – Lifehacker spoke with Jacqueline Ayers, the vice-president of government relations and public policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Here is what you need to know.

Your vote really does matter

As we have seen in recent weeks, the president’s power to appoint Supreme Court justices cannot be overstated – let alone the ability to sign decrees and dictate party vision and goals. And as dire as the situation may seem for reproductive rights with Donald Trump as president, it may get worse if he is re-elected.

“Right now, where we are in this country, is facing an election that’s really going to be a fight for our survival,” Ayers told Lifehacker. “Literally everything is at stake, with the election at the intersection of issues of importance to race, class, gender – there are still plenty of opportunities for policy change, but only if people come out and vote.

National and local elections are also extremely important

But it goes way beyond who will spend the next four years in the Oval Office and in Congress – reproductive and sexual health policies are also implemented nationally and locally, and how we vote on these races matters. really. “All across the ticket, what we know is that we have seen an unprecedented attack on our health care and at the state, local and federal level,” says Ayers.

There are currently 17 state-level cases just one step away from the Supreme Court that would determine access to abortion. One such case involves a six-week abortion ban passed in Georgia that would ban and limit abortion, even at a time when a person may not know they are pregnant, Ayers says. In response, the The PPFA is working to reverse Senate seats in places like Maine and Colorado, Arizona, Montana and North Carolina, it notes.

Don’t ignore state and local judicial races

If you live in a state that elects judges, keep in mind the impact that the results of that election might To manufacture. For an example of why these breeds are so important, look no further than 2018. After Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Ayers says some states have started passing extremely restrictive abortion laws, s’ waiting for them disputed in the lower courts, and hoping they will make their way through the circuit courts and then finally to the Supreme Court, where they will be decided by a conservative bench. According to Ayers, the current administration has proposed nearly 200 judges to federal and lower courts who are hostile to reproductive health care – a trend she said could change if people voted throughout the ballot.

“It is absolutely important to pay attention to the judiciary,” she said. “Because in the states where they elect judges, we know everything is at stake there too. And the ability to protect access to reproductive health care and ensure that restrictions on abortion cannot go forward – much of this starts in state courts.

Affordable care law has huge impact on sexual and reproductive health

With so much emphasis on access to abortion granted by Roe vs. Wade (and rightly so), it can be easy to forget exactly how much we stand to lose if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were to be scrapped. For example, Ayers says getting rid of ACA would hurt tremendously because people would lose mandatory coverage for pregnancy, labor, and delivery – and at a time when pregnant black women in the United States are still three times more likely to suffer complications or death due to pregnancy.

“We can’t allow people to lose their coverage,” Ayers says. “It is important to remember [that] Today, 29.8 million people have health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. We know that there are 62 million women who now have access to extensive contraceptive coverage at no direct cost – including 70 million Latinas [and] 50 million black women. Having this guaranteed birth control coverage is essential and cannot be eliminated. “

Beyond birth control, the ACA also ensures that just having a uterus is not considered a pre-existing condition, in addition to being a survivor of domestic violence.

“One of the reasons Planned Parenthood and our supporters fought so hard to pass the Affordable Care Act was because we knew it was important to expand coverage. [including] contraceptive coverage, to make sure people can get more care by developing Medicaid, ”says Ayers. “We want to make sure it will never be repealed, and in fact, we are voting in this election to continue to grow that success. ACA has made so much possible, and especially now in a pandemic, I think people want better access to health care – not less.

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