The Planned Parenthood Women’s Health Forum will see 2020 Democrat candidates questioned on abortion, healthcare access, and contraception, and is the first event focused on women’s health for several presidential campaign cycles.
Though the US presidential election is anyone’s game at this point, one key issue has emerged as a major driver in the 2020 race to the White House: abortion.
With no fewer than 30 states in the US passing some form of restriction to abortion access since the beginning of the year in a move to challenge Roe vs Wade in the Supreme Court, reproductive rights in America have never faced such intense attack from lawmakers opposed to women’s bodily autonomy.
In the wake of US states continuing to pass cruel abortion sanctions, including Georgia and Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat” bill, and Alabama’s near-blanket abortion ban which has been hailed the harshest ban in the entire nation, Planned Parenthood has emerged as a beacon of hope in the fight for reproductive rights.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has just announced that it will host a forum on reproductive rights for Democratic primary candidates seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, according to the New York Times.
The Women’s Health forum, which coincides with the weekend of the state Democratic Party’s convention on June 22 in Columbia, South Carolina, is also the first event to focus exclusively on women’s healthcare, which makes it all the more timely as the fierce debate over abortion wages on.
“It’s crystal clear that access to reproductive health care — including safe, legal abortion — is a top issue heading into 2020,” PPFA executive director Kelley Robinson told the New York Times. “If the 13 million-plus Planned Parenthood supporters turn out to the polls and activate their networks, they can tip the 2020 election.”
So far, 16 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination have signed up to the forum, including frontrunners Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, a liberal, anti-Trump senator who recently unveiled a series of steps to help defends abortion rights and reproductive healthcare, which would call upon Congress to pass policies prohibiting states from blocking a abortion provider’s ability to give care.
Senators Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker have also confirmed their attendance, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, who recently voiced controversial support for the Hyde Amendment, a law which prevents federal funds from being used to provide abortion procedures through Medicaid.
Organisers of the forum have explained that each candidate will have 15 minutes to answer questions about their records and current positions on all issues relating to women’s healthcare, including abortion, healthcare access, and contraception, which will undoubtedly see Biden questioned on his outdated stance, as well as his sexist behaviour that has marked his campaign trail.
As Warren pointed out in a recent interview on MSNBC, the Hyde Amendment stands in direct opposition to those working for intersectional reproductive justice, especially as Medicaid provides healthcare for poor and disabled women on public health insurance.
“Under the Hyde amendment, under every one of these efforts to try to chip away or push back or get rid of Roe v Wade, understand this, women of means will still have access to abortions,” she began.
“Who won’t will be poor women, working women, will be women who can’t afford to take off three days from work, will be very young women, will be women who’ve been raped, will be women who’ve been molested by someone in their own family,” she said.
“We do not pass laws that take away that freedom from the women who are most vulnerable.”