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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Reproductive Freedom Means ACCESS, too.

24 January 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

The fun thing about working on proactive legislative efforts is, the bills tend to come out early in the session!Screen Shot 2017 01 24 at 7.48.40 AM

For many of the proactive efforts we listed on our blog last week (link), the ACLU of Utah has been working for months – sometimes years – to draft language, make adjustments based on input from different impacted groups, come to consensus with government stakeholders, and build support in the community and in the legislature.

That means when the session begins, these bills are usually ready to go in the first week or two. Exhibit A: HB 57, “Reproductive Health and Medicaid Amendments,” sponsored by House Minority Leader Brian King (D-Salt Lake).

HB57 is one of several reproductive freedom bills that the ACLU of Utah is supporting. It will allow the state of Utah to access funding from the federal government to offer comprehensive family planning services to Medicaid recipients. Rep. Ray Ward (R-Bountiful) is seeking financial appropriates to support this bill, as well.

This is an excellent reproductive freedom bill, and it won’t just help women. The services outlined in the bill are wide-ranging, from sexually-transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, to access to contraceptives and family planning counseling. These services can be accessed by any Utahns, regardless of gender, through supportive community organizations such as Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

Low-income people usually are less able to access the full range of available family planning services, resulting in unplanned pregnancies and health issues resulting from STIs. The freedom – AND the practicable ability, through funding and access! – to decide when and how to start a family is a fundamental one for Utahns. Nobody should have fewer choices in family planning decisions, merely because they have fewer dollars in their pocket.

Shoot your legislators an email to voice your support for HB57 and access to comprehensive family planning services for low-income Utahns! Use "Please support HB57: Reproductive Health & Medicaid Amendments" in the subject line.

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