161090 Take two votes and call me in the morning: Advocating for reproductive healthcare in the 2006 elections

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 12:30 PM

Kelly Baden , Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, New York, NY
During the 2006 legislative session, state legislators introduced more than 1,100 bills on topics related to reproductive health, most of which restricted choice. From abstinence-only sexuality education to biased counseling, state legislators continue to challenge women's access to comprehensive, evidence-based reproductive healthcare.

A key trend seen in recent legislative sessions is an increased focus on banning abortions, directly challenging the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. With 14 states recently introducing such legislation, South Dakota became the first state to adopt such a ban into law. In November 2006, however, South Dakota residents voted to overturn their state abortion ban by 56 to 45%.

Measure 43, Oregon's parental notification ballot initiative in last November's election, was a ballot initiative that bypassed the legislature, bringing the controversial issue directly to voters. Oregon's parental notification initiative was defeated 54 to 45%.

In California, for the second election in a row, voters considered a ballot measure that would have amended the state constitution to require parental notification for minors seeking abortion services. California's Proposition 85 was defeated 54 to 46%.

While restrictive legislative trends continue to threaten access to comprehensive reproductive care, physician activism has increased as a result. Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health has created a platform that empowers physicians to advocate for comprehensive reproductive healthcare services through the traditional medical system and in the public policy arena. Legislative trends will be used as a foundation to discuss strategic advocacy tools utilized by healthcare providers and other public health experts.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the current legislative trends affecting reproductive healthcare access 2. Review the potential impact of this legislation on access to reproductive healthcare services in the states 3. Discuss how physicians and public health professionals can affect current reproductive healthcare policies

Keywords: Advocacy, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.