What's On Our Mind 7-9-2021

It’s not just about roads and bridges. President Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure plan will also have a major impact on women and their ability to access birth control, infertility treatments, and other reproductive healthcare services.

High-speed internet is a woman’s passport to the world of healthcare. More than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure with minimally acceptable speeds. This, along with states’ abortion restrictions, has created a growing crisis for women.

President Biden has called for universal, reliable high-speed internet for all Americans in his infrastructure plan. It is now part of the bipartisan plan that has yet to be voted on. The plan would drive down prices for internet service and close the digital divide in our country.

Technology can enable women to take control of their own bodies and healthcare decisions. But they must have internet access.

The Biden Administration has been allowing patients to be prescribed and sent medicine that induces abortion without visiting a doctor in person. Telemedicine has emerged as an option for women to receive healthcare and abortion counseling in the privacy of their homes. Women are more likely to use this service than men.

Telemedicine has made medication abortion more available. With so many clinics closing, women are being forced to travel greater distances for in-person reproductive healthcare, including contraception. This poses financial and daycare hardships and potentially physical danger as protests around the remaining clinics continue daily.

Women also need to be able to search for abortion providers, preferably local to them, and to gather information necessary for them to make the personal decisions for their well-being. Women who can control when and how to start a family have greater control over their economic lives too.

For those living in states with extremely restrictive abortion laws, many are forced to find abortion pills online, even from sometimes sketchy international websites. This can be challenging — if not impossible — without high-speed broadband.

Again women’s freedom to choose their healthcare options and reproductive future are ensnarled in politics. The GOP is more committed than ever to blocking all Democratic bills. We must elect more Democrats to the Senate. It’s the only way to move our country forward.