It is our position that once Basic Needs have been addressed, it is impossible for women to achieve economic security if they are not healthy and safe. So together with relevant organization Partners, the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition advocates for policies, legislation, and resources that facilitate women living healthy lives without fear for their safety. This includes practical access to health providers using public and private health insurance, recognition of their unique reproductive health needs, and protection from known and unknown violent predators.
When women thrive, entire communities thrive. On November 6, 2017, the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition brought together about 40 residents from Creekside Apartments and surrounding area in Bensalem to discuss women’s health, identify barriers, and suggest some possible solutions. The women, many immigrants and low-income, were enthusiastic participants and stated their appreciation for being asked about their experiences and opinions. The report from that evening’s discussion has been combined with reports from other community gatherings across the Commonwealth as part of the Pennsylvania’s Campaign for Women’s Health Community Conversation project. A Report on Pennsylvania’s Community Conversations on Women’s Health was released at a news conference in Harrisburg on January 23, 2018 when Jessica Smith, one of the Bucks County participants, spoke on a panel. The statewide report can be downloaded here. PA Campaign for Women’s Health priorities has been identified from these conversations. The Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition is grateful for the stories, openness, and suggestions by all the women attending these conversations.
It is critical that health insurance be easily available and affordable for everyone in America. Women have traditionally had a harder time getting, keeping and affording health insurance because insurance companies have viewed women’s reproductive health needs as add-ons. Therefore our advocacy focuses on ensuring that we have universal healthcare that requires all health insurance plans to address the unique needs of women without regard to pre-existing conditions, without discriminatory limitations, and without additional cost.
March 2017: BCWAC issued a Position Paper on American Health Care Act (AHCA) prepared by Peggy Dator, Co-chair of the Health & Safety Committee, and Tam St Claire, BCWAC President, regarding shifting healthcare costs to the state and jeopardizing access and services, including those provided by Planned Parenthood.
Women must have easy access to trained and reliable health care providers, including physicians, therapists, nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants, regardless of where they live and their economic status. Therefore our advocacy focuses on the expansion of practice privileges for nurse practitioners who are uniquely positioned to address the obstacles women face in accessing health providers.
January 2018: NP Letter to Representatives RE: HB100 – Push For a Vote
A fundamental tenet of women’s health is that women have the right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health. Therefore our advocacy focuses on requiring full coverage for all forms of birth control in all public and private health insurance plans, affordable access to gynecological care and safe abortions, and safe working conditions and reasonable accommodations during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
March 2017: BCWAC sent a Letter to State Representatives urging opposition to SB 3 and HB 77, which institute an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban. This ban punishes women who discover lethal or life threatening abnormalities after the 20-week ultrasound and criminalizes doctors for performing procedures that women and their doctors decide are best for their family, their personal health, and their future reproductive capabilities. Both bills also criminalize the procedure that the medical community states is the safest for the health of the woman.
In February 2017, BCWAC sent a Letter to Senators urging a NO vote on SB3 which restricts Pennsylvania women’s right to choose to 19 weeks without exceptions, including for health of woman, fetal abnormalities, nor in cases of rape or incest. Viability is currently considered 24 weeks.
Safety: Guns, Domestic Violence + Human Trafficking
Women and children are more likely to be victims of guns, domestic violence and human trafficking. And living in fear is a clear impediment to living a healthy life and achieving economic security. Therefore our advocacy focuses on reasonable and rational gun safety measures like universal background checks and greater protections from and punishments for known and unknown predators.
February 2018: The BCWAC Youth Advocacy Committee met with their elected officials about gun violence and sent letters about gun control to State Rep. Quinn and Senator McIlhinney. The visit with the legislators got front page coverage in the Intelligencer. See article here.
January 2017: In a letter to Senators McIlhinney, Greenleaf, Tomlinson and Mensch, BCWAC and its partners implore senators to cosponsor Senator Tom Killion’s bill that aims to “enhance safety” for parties involved in domestic abuse cases and Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders. The language of the bill was carefully negotiated by the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence with various law enforcement agencies and gun ownership organizations.
March 2015: The Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition sent a letter to Senators Casey and Toomey requesting they demand the divisive abortion amendment attached to S.178 be removed immediately and pass a bill that helps the victims of human trafficking. Letter: Victims of human trafficking deserve help, not divisive politics.