A Run-Down of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Positions On Women’s Health Issues
Since the two-night Democratic Debate, Americans have been buzzing about who they want to be the 2020 Democratic nominee. While every candidate openly supports a woman’s right to choose, how they define those rights and plan to protect them is what matters most. More than ever, women’s health was the forefront of discussions during the PBS hosted debate, and we are here to ask: What does that mean for us? What do these candidates plan to do to advocate for our bodies, our health, and our physical autonomy?
As a leader in this race, people are anxiously waiting to find out more about Biden’s stance on women’s health. As a previous supporter of the Hyde Amendment, a measure which that bans federal funding for most abortions, he announced last month that he will no longer be in support of that legislation. Biden has stated that while his religious views prevent him from actively supporting abortion, he does not believe it is his right to interfere with a woman’s right to choose. While he supports a woman’s right to choose, it is clear he has battled for decades between his Catholic faith and abortion.
Biden states that federal law cannot control how many clinics there are in any given state and plans to increase Planned Parenthood funding in order to prevent federal control over clinic numbers. To expand on women’s health, Biden makes it abundantly clear that all women’s rights also include and extend to transgender women.
Bill De Blasio
In May of 2019, De Blasio joined his wife and thousands of women to rally against abortion bans in New York. At the rally, he stated, “to those legislators who think they can turn back the clock, hands off.”
Additionally, on June 28, 2019, as the mayor of New York City, he rejected $1.3 million in federal health funds from the Trump Administration to support the Gag Rule.
While he proves to make strides for women as the mayor of New York City, his plan in a potential presidency is unclear as of now. Although we know he will support abortion, his plan to uphold the right remains unclear.
In Booker’s plan for women’s health, he claims that he will create a White House Office for Reproductive Freedom. With an additional focus on women’s health for the youth, he wants to expand on the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. Booker says he is devoted to expanding women’s health options to women no matter their race, financial situation, or employment status.
Finally, Booker plans to erase the Gag Rule, which is supported by the Trump Administration. He says he believes it is a woman’s right to be told by their doctor how to access safe and healthy abortion.
Castro made quite an impression on the crowd at June’s debate when he stated he “not only believes in reproductive freedom but [he] believes in reproductive justice.” He includes transgender and poor women, stating that their status should not inhibit their ability to exercise that right to choose.
Castro, aside from his policies, speaks to the people he would welcome into office during his administration; he claims he would appoint judges who respect the precedent of Roe v. Wade.
Delaney says he plans to repeal the Hyde Amendment as well as protect federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
According to his campaign website, Delaney also plans to take action to help women abroad. He states he will, “repeal the Global Gag Rule so women around the world who utilize medical facilities that receive U.S. aid have access to all necessary reproductive services.”
Gabbard joined politics at the age of 21 and is an anti-abortion activist. She claims, though, that her service in Afghanistan led her to a multitude of realizations, including the fact that safe legal abortions should be protected.
While she respects a woman’s right to choose, her plan to protect the right is unclear.
Harris released her idea for a Reproductive Rights Act, which requires “states and localities with a history of violating Roe v. Wade to obtain approval from her Department of Justice before any abortion law or practice can take effect.” She continues, “Under the plan, states and localities will be subject to the preclearance requirement if they have a pattern of violating Roe v. Wade in the preceding 25 years. For example, violations will include settlements or final findings by a court that a law or practice runs afoul of Roe.”
Harris also pays close attention to the fact that gun reform is women’s health reform. Harris states, “92 percent of all women killed with guns in high-income countries in 2015 were from the U.S.,” and that she plans to attack gun reform head-on as a women’s health issue.
Inslee is very open about his support of a woman’s right to choose. He states that he is against both the Gag Rule and the prevention of tax-funded clinics referring women for abortions. His plan, though, to support women’s rights during his presidency is unclear.
Additionally, Hicklooper states on his campaign website, “We need to support women who want to stay in or re-enter the workforce. This includes modernizing paid family leave and making it gender neutral—both men and women should have time off to take care of their loved ones, particularly after a baby is born.” His plan to extend postpartum care to a father is an important step towards equal pay.
Klobuchar stood up for women in several cases during the PBS debates. After Inslee commented that he was the only one on stage passing a public option for abortion, she refuted, saying, “there are three women up here who have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” and she is not wrong. Klobuchar has long supported abortion being between a woman and her doctor.
She states, “if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, I would make sure that we are codifying Roe v. Wade into law.” She says her plan will respect Roe v. Wade as precedent until it is meddled with, in which case she would create legislation to allow abortion for all.
O’Rourke just released a new plan to expand on the protection of women’s health. His plan includes an increase in Title X funding which, according to CNN, puts no restrictions on federal funding for abortion.”
O’Rourke, unlike the Trump Administration, also claims he would allow for tax-funded clinics referring women for abortions. He also voted against limiting abortion after 20 weeks.
Until 2015, Ryan was an anti-abortionist. He released a statement in the Akron Beacon Journal stating, “there are many factors involved when a woman decides to end a pregnancy, and over the past 14 years in political office, I have gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and emotions that accompany the difficult decisions that women and families make when confronted with these situations.” Since the statement, he has been an active advocate for abortion, fighting against the 20-week abortion ban.
As a cancer survivor, Bennet frequently touches on the cost of healthcare. Within the healthcare umbrella, he is quick to include women’s health, reproductive rights, and accessibility to contraceptives. He believes that women should not only have access to these resources, but he will also include affordable healthcare in his plan.
Buttigeg, a man devoted to finding greatness in the future rather than the past, believes in easy access to contraceptives and safe and legal abortions. On his campaign website he states, “A woman should have the freedom to make medical decisions on her own or with the counsel of her doctor, family, and faith leaders—those whom she chooses and she trusts. The government’s role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes preventive care, contraceptive services, prenatal and postpartum care, and safe and legal abortion.”
When speaking to FOX News reporter, Chris Wallace, Buttigieg stated, “The dialogue has gotten so caught up in where you draw the line. I trust women to draw the line,” demonstrating that, as President, he would allow women to lead the conversation about women’s rights and act according to their needs.
According to the New York Times, Gillibrand has promised that she will only nominate judges who uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, Gillibrand wrote an article on Medium stating that she will protect the patients receiving, as well as the doctors giving, abortions. Her support for abortion and women’s health has been a driving force of her campaign, calling this year’s progress for anti-choice activism a “nationwide assault on women’s constitutional rights”
Sanders is a long time supporter of women’s reproductive rights. On his campaign wesbite, he claims that he will “fully fund Planned Parenthood, Title X, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of safe and legal abortion.” He additionally states that he will protect the precedent of Roe v. Wade and appoint judges who will uphold it. Like many of the other candidates, he is choosing to approach the threat to Roe v. Wade through the courts.
Sanders additionally plans to legislate the Violence Against Women Act.
Swalwell is one of the candidates who plans to take action on codifying Roe v. Wade into law. He has been open about wanting not only to appoint judges who will all respect the Roe precedent but is also eager to sign Roe v. Wade into federal law. On his campaign website, he states, “Let’s codify Roe v. Wade and repeal the Hyde Amendment so that women everywhere have access to safe abortions. Let’s have a healthcare guarantee, debt-free college, and affordable childcare. And men, let’s pass the mic and ensure that women have a voice at every table.”
Swalwell appears eager to allow women to formulate their needs into legislation, and offer himself as a catalyst to the change.
Warren is an active supporter of women’s rights. She was at the forefront of the #MeToo movement, telling The Cut that, “we are stronger when we stand up for each other.” Warren believes that following the precedent of Roe v. Wade is not enough. In an article she wrote on Medium, she states, “Congress should pass new federal laws that protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states. Federal laws that ensure real access to birth control and abortion care for all women. Federal laws will stand no matter what the Supreme Court does.”
Warren also claims to respect reproductive healthcare as a form of all healthcare, protecting it as she would any other form.
Williamson has been an advocate for reproductive rights for years. She claims, “abortion is a moral issue, but I do not believe the government of the United States has the right to legislate our private morals.”
Williamson uses her campaign website to explain that she will resist any contradiction to Roe v. Wade, though it does not look like codifying it into law is yet in her plans.
Yang is an open supporter of a woman’s right to choose, without the influence of doctors, partners, or any other third parties’ opinion. He is also the only candidate who proposes a plan to decrease abortion rates without interfering with a woman’s right to choose.
He states, “the two most effective ways to decrease the number of abortions are to provide every woman with access to contraceptives and to provide financial, emotional, and structural support to individuals who are financially struggling and become pregnant—Universal Basic Income would accomplish this for many prospective parents.” He does not mention whether or not he would codify Roe v. Wade.