New York, NY (PRWEB) March 31, 2014
Reflecting on the War on Poverty as it entered its fiftieth year, Sen. Marco Rubio declared in January that “the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty” is not government intervention, but marriage. Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler and Fellow Andrea Flynn argue that there’s a better solution in their new white paper, “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Expanding Access to Family Planning.” In it, they argue that contraception should be understood as a fundamental right of American women and examine why family planning services are an essential component of poverty reduction programs, and one that is far more effective than promoting marriage.
Chesler and Flynn argue that unless women in poverty have the agency to make well-informed reproductive health decisions, other anti-poverty interventions will be ineffective. They underscore the Affordable Care Act’s historic commitment to women’s health and highlight the critical importance of the law’s contraceptive mandate, currently being challenged in the Supreme Court.
“Family planning was once a bipartisan issue,” says Chesler, “and the programs that conservatives have taken up in its place, like abstinence-until-marriage sexual education, have been discredited and have failed women and their families, whose health economic well-being would be better served by robust family planning information, care and services.”
Flynn, who wrote about the important relationship between Title X – the federal family planning program – and the ACA in a Roosevelt Institute white paper released in October 2013, considers expanding publically funded family planning an essential in meeting the needs of low-income women. “Giving women access to free family planning enables them to complete their education, secure employment, and support themselves and their families financially.”
There are strong links between poverty and reproductive health, including higher rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as complications and worse outcomes for pregnant women and their infants. Increased access to family planning services through the ACA, Title X, Medicaid, and other safety net programs is critical in enabling all women to improve their, and their families’ – health and economic security.
This paper is a publication of the Roosevelt Institute’s Women Rising Initiative. Chesler, the director of the initiative, has more than 30 years of experience in government, philanthropy, and academia and is the author of the critically celebrated Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America. Her work at the Roosevelt Institute focuses on the history of women’s rights as fundamental human rights. Flynn researches and writes about reproductive health issues in the United States and globally. She has spent the last 10 years in philanthropic and advocacy organizations, academic institutions, and think tanks focusing on the health and human rights issues facing women around the world.
Chesler and Flynn are available for interviews. For more information, please contact Tim Price.
About the Roosevelt Institute
The Roosevelt Institute is an ideas and leadership organization founded in the belief that America should offer opportunity to all. To develop a new social contract for the 21st century, we advance the work of progressive economists and social policy thinkers and support an emerging generation of leaders as they design solutions to the nation’s most pressing issues.
For more information, visit us at rooseveltinstitute.org.
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