Pregnancy Equity Scorecard - DFLA Education Fund Releases Pathway for Post-Roe Consensus
At the end of June 2023, the Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) Education Fund released a comprehensive proposal to improve pregnancy equity in a post-Roe environment. Pregnancy equity is an important concept that addresses the ability of women to make decisions about their pregnancies without being constrained by financial handcuffs or restrictive laws. It encompasses the idea that women should have the opportunity to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, regardless of their socioeconomic status or the state in which they reside.
“Even within a patchwork of abortion laws, every state can focus on addressing pregnancy equity,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of the DFLA Education Fund. “We need to craft solutions to support those in underserved and underprivileged communities who are being silenced and forgotten amidst all the noise about the legality of abortion. It’s time to shift our focus.”
Economic factors, such as lack of financial resources, limited access to healthcare, and inadequate support systems, can disproportionately affect a decision regarding pregnancy. Maternal mortality rates and funding for abortion but lack of overall social and governmental support for pregnant and parenting women are all factors that impact pregnancy equity outcomes. The DFLA Education Fund Pregnancy Equity Scorecard evaluates and compares the level of pregnancy equity across states using a holistic set of criteria.
“I was disappointed to see Michigan rank 38th on the scorecard,” said Sarah Burchart, chapter leader of Democrats for Life of Michigan. “There are initiatives suggested here that we’d like to see ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ legislators come to agreement on like they have in other states, such as expansion of Medicaid postpartum coverage, expansion of paid family leave, and the reduction or elimination of diaper sales tax.”
“The results reveal gaps that must be understood and addressed across red, blue, and purple states,” added J.T. Kopczynski, Director of Analytics at DFLA. “We have much to do regarding promoting pregnancy equity. Bipartisan cooperation is critical for advancing a solution to give women and parents what they need during and after pregnancy.”
The Pregnancy Equity Scorecard indicates that states can differ drastically on abortion, pre-birth, and post-birth policies yet have similar pregnancy equity outcome scores. For example, Texas and California have similar scores yet very different pregnancy and parenting policies. All states have areas and initiatives in which they can improve.
A barrier to pregnancy equity is clearly financial.
“According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of women who have abortions are financially insecure,” pointed out Day. “This statistic highlights the significant impact financial stability can have on reproductive choices.”
Rather than push for a radical zero abortion policy, the DFLA Education Fund calls upon legislators to view the scorecard as a roadmap to pass laws that will make resources and support more affordable, available, and accessible for every woman and parent to have an equal opportunity to carry, birth, and raise their children and make that decision based on issues other than financial status. The decision to terminate a pregnancy should not primarily be based on financial inequality.
Choice requires the actual ability to choose.
“There has been so much vitriol and division in discussions about abortion. Scoring political points has become the main priority when the priority should be addressing the barriers to pregnancy and parenting,” Day explained. “We urge political leaders to expand social safety nets and build a strong infrastructure for the challenges that face us in a post-Roe America."
Here at Michigan Democrats for Life, we hope the Pregnancy Equity Scorecard can act as a springboard for conversation on how to move forward in addressing pregnancy equity gaps in our state. What pregnancy equity gaps do you see and how do you think we as individuals and as a state can address them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!