Comprehensive Reproductive Care
Under Medicare for All, the Hyde Amendment will be repealed and all reproductive health services will be provided free at the point of service. Contraception will also be covered and free. In order to ensure everyone can receive the reproductive health care they need under Medicare for All, Bernie will significantly expand funding for Planned Parenthood, Title X, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.
Bernie knows it’s no coincidence that while President Trump only nominates Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and anti-choice idealogues to the federal bench, right-wing legislators in states like Alabama and Georgia are passing obviously unconstitutional abortions bans that they hope will provide the court case that overturns a woman’s right to choose. Bernie believes we must fight the national, coordinated, and extreme attacks on women’s rights. As President, Bernie will work tirelessly to undo the damage Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have done. That means working with reproductive justice and advocacy groups to fill vacancies with highly qualified, principled judges who will protect reproductive rights at every level.
Bernie has been a champion of women’s reproductive rights his entire career. Bernie has a proud 100 percent pro-choice voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. He has consistently voted against the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of federal funds for abortion access, disproportionately targeting low-income women and women of color. In 1972, before the Roe v. Wade ruling, Bernie criticized male politicians who “think that they have the right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body.” Bernie has never wavered on the issue of reproductive freedom, and, as president, he will protect and expand reproductive rights.
As President, Bernie will:
- Use executive authority to undo all the damage Trump has done to women’s reproductive freedom, including:
- Undoing the Trump administration’s rule which allows providers to refuse care to and discriminate against their patients seeking reproductive health care.
- Reversing the Trump Administration’s domestic gag rule which is a disgraceful assault on women's rights and an assault on millions of Americans' ability to get the health care they need.
- Reversing the Trump Administration’s global gag rule.
- Restoring United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funding.
- Codify Roe v. Wade in legislative statute.
- Protect and expand funding for Planned Parenthood.
- Require all judicial nominees to support Roe v. Wade as settled law.
- Repeal the Hyde and Helms Amendments.
- Ban state Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that put undue and unnecessary burdens and regulations on doctors who provide abortion services, with the goal of restricting access.
- Require preclearance for state abortion laws to ensure that state laws do not impose undue restrictions and barriers for abortion services.
- Ensure anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers do not get Title X funding or other government funds.
- Ban ineffective abstinence-only sex education.
- Make birth control available over-the-counter in addition to free under Medicare for All.
Reproductive Justice in Communities of Color & the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis
If abortion is legal, but your state has no or too few reproductive health clinics, then you do not have reproductive justice or freedom. If there are reproductive health clinics but there are financial barriers to utilizing those clinics, then you do not have reproductive justice or freedom. If you have health care that is affordable, but work long hours at minimum wages and cannot afford to take time off work to get to your doctor’s appointments, then you don’t have reproductive justice or freedom. If you must travel long distances to reach an abortion provider but are unable to afford transportation, lodging, or child care, you do not have reproductive freedom. If you have health insurance provided by your employer but your employer excludes reproductive health care from the insurance plan, then you do not have reproductive justice or freedom. If you give birth to a healthy child, but your children are subsequently poisoned by lead-tainted water, then you don’t have reproductive justice or freedom. We must address these issues holistically to ensure true reproductive justice for all, especially in communities of color.
There has been no time in this country when women, especially Black women, had the reproductive justice that they deserve. A Bernie Sanders administration will fully support the freedom for all to decide when and if they choose to conceive, as all forms of contraception and necessary fertility treatments will be covered under Medicare for All. We will fund the establishment of women’s health care services, including desperately needed labor and delivery hospital services, in what are now health care deserts in significant parts of rural and urban America. We will implement policies to create safer environments for families of color to raise their children and more equitable living standard for all families.
Women of color are much less likely to have access to family planning resources. We must not only protect critical organizations such as Planned Parenthood from right-wing attacks, we must expand funding for these organizations, as well as community health centers, to provide STI screenings and contraceptive services. We must eliminate “contraceptive deserts,” and ensure low-income communities and communities of color are not hundreds of miles or even entire states away from reproductive health options.
Black women are 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, and those numbers are even higher in the most at-risk zip codes. This is unacceptable. The research from experts is clear: to solve our Black maternal mortality crisis, we need to address the fact that tens of millions of women are either uninsured or underinsured. Nearly 14 percent of Black women are uninsured, compared to 8 percent of white women. Bernie understands that one policy alone will not solve this crisis. We must also invest in culturally competent care and provide dedicated resources to at-risk communities to address this crisis with the necessary urgency.
Additionally, Bernie understands that stress kills, and women of color experience higher levels of toxic stress than white women. Bernie will address the social determinants of health and enact plans to decrease toxic stressors in communities of color that contribute, in part, to unequitable maternal and infant mortality.
As president, Bernie will:
- Guarantee reproductive justice and end the Black maternal mortality crisis.
- Increase access to and funding for reproductive services and facilities in communities of color.
- Work with women of color-led community organizations to develop and coordinate policy.
- Educate health care providers on providing culturally competent care.
- Ban providers from discriminating against patients, including discrimination based on race, color, gender, and pregnancy, and allow courts to award damages to patients if this is violated.
- Require all participating providers, facilities, and pharmacies to prominently display, in plain language, in multiple languages as based on needs of the community, information of patients’ rights under M4A, as well as resources to file complaints.
- Increase funding to hospitals where the concentration of Black mothers and parents receive care, so that they can implement evidence-based protocols and strategies to lower mortality rates.
- Require medical schools and other health professional training programs receiving federal funding to provide specific education about health disparities and the delivery of culturally competent care.
- Require hospitals that receive federal funding to hire culturally competent care liaisons to field complaints, and provide training to all labor and delivery staff, including nurses, doctors, and clerks.
- Pass the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act to improve patient safety by imposing mandatory limits on the number of patients each Registered Nurse cares for in the hospital.
- Direct the newly created Office of Primary Health Care to create an initiative to provide resources and educational materials to providers to erase disparities in how Black parents are treated and diagnosed.
- This will include distributing Black maternal and infant mortality educational materials at labor and delivery departments of hospitals.
- Ensure that there are sufficient OBGYN physicians, midwives, lactation consultants and doulas in medically underserved communities of color.
- Require hospitals to establish standard protocols to rapidly address postpartum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality in Black women.
- Create and expand programs for Black maternal mortality liaisons, patient advocates, care coordinators, and social workers at hospitals serving at-risk women of color to follow their pregnancy course, provide transportation assistance and other services necessary to ensure they are able to attain much needed prenatal care services, and decrease stigma and improve screening for postpartum depression in parents of color.
- These coordinators will follow patients throughout their pregnancy and provide resources and support, including home visits as needed.
- Double funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which supports home visiting services from nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, and other support professionals for families with young children who live in low-income and at-risk communities.
- Expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program for pregnant mothers, infants, and children.
- Raise the eligibility to age 6 and allow WIC certification to apply for the first two years of a child’s life.
- Increase outreach to eligible families to increase take-up. Currently, only 50 percent of eligible pregnant women participate in the program.
- Enact a comprehensive, progressive agenda to end racial disparities in our economic system, criminal justice system, environment, education system, and health care system.
- Raise the minimum wage to a livable wage of at least $15 per hour, which will give a raise to 38 percent of Black workers.
- Cancel all past-due medical debt, for the nearly one-third of all Black Americans aged 18-64 with past-due medical bills.
- Guarantee environmental justice for frontline and fenceline communities of color through the Green New Deal, including:
- Establishing a $40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund to ensure justice for frontline communities and assist them to prepare for and recover from climate impacts.
- Banning fracking, which waste contains carcinogens and is disposed of mostly in low-income communities of color.
- Passing the WATER Act to invest $35 billion annually to guarantee clean water for Black and brown children who are disproportionately exposed to lead and other toxins.
- Cancel all student debt, a majority of which is held by Black women.
- Guarantee tuition and debt-free public colleges, universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and trade-schools and investing billions annually in all HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions.
- Ensure fair housing for all, combat gentrification, expand Section 8 and eliminate waitlists, and end homelessness, as Black people make up 13 percent of the population but 40 percent of the homeless.
- Build a Department of Justice that will hold police accountable for misconduct and violence against communities of color.
- End cash bail and for-profit prisons, which disproportionately harm people of color.
- End the racist War on Drugs, legalize marijuana, and ensure communities of color which have been most impacted by the War on Drugs benefit from its legalization.
- Reverse the criminalization of addiction, disability, and poverty.
- Guarantee free medical care in prisons and jails, including professional and evidence-based substance abuse and trauma-informed mental health treatment, and guarantee incarcerated trans people have access to all the health care they need.
- Provide equitable funding for public schools and provide year-round, free universal school meals so that no child goes hungry.
- Guarantee fair elections and ensure that people who are incarcerated have a right to vote.
- Provide fair banking for all and end discrimination in lending.
- Provide free, universal child care and pre-kindergarten to alleviate disproportionate burden Black parents face in access and affordability to child care services.
- Ensure that all working parents have six months paid family leave.
- Strengthen gun violence prevention laws to keep children safe.