While I am pleased that gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan submitted a letter to the Baltimore Sun affirming his support for access to birth control, it did not go far enough to answer how he feels about a woman's right to choose ("Hogan: Hobby Lobby case a manufactured political issue in Md. governor's race," July 8). I am writing to once again to ask that he clarify his stance on abortion and women's reproductive health.
Like Mr. Hogan, I believe it is time to "clear the air and cut through the political rhetoric." I also agree that it is essential to discuss Maryland's job growth, the economy and other critical issues. One of those critical issues is abortion, reproductive health and how it intertwines with the economy.
Access to the full range of reproductive health care services enables women to be full participants in any economy. People who have access to family planning services are statistically more likely to form smaller families and to delay childbearing. As we still live in a society where women are predominantly responsible for child care and rearing, this decision allows women to take part in the workforce to a greater degree and develop careers. This participation directly improves the economy. In the short term, this means these families are less likely to seek aid from government programs. Moreover, planned children are also more likely to be in a better economic position when they reach adulthood. Internationally, it has been shown that women are more likely to invest in their children's needs, such as the need for education, contributing to future economic potential.
The last year has clearly shown that governors have an immense impact on women's reproductive health and that the issue is equitable with taxes, jobs, and the economy. So far this year, 13 states have adopted 21 new restrictions that could limit access to abortion. These restrictions range from requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals to bans on insurance coverage to limitations on medication abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. These restrictions have occurred under the authorship of state legislators with the vocal support of state governors. Virginia, for example, is just one of the many states that recently restricted full access to reproductive health. And Virginia is a state where the voters elected a new governor, in part, because women's reproductive rights were at stake.
The Hobby Lobby decision is the latest in a long line of assaults to reproductive health care, many of which have taken place on the state level. Moreover, women's reproductive health remains an issue at the national level. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just announced that if control of the Senate changes in November, one of his top priorities will be to pass an abortion ban. And, finally, the 2012 Republican platform clearly states that, "Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it." This appears to be in direct contrast of Maryland GOP principle of, "I Believe ... In equal right, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin."
Knowing where a gubernatorial candidate stands on these issues it not "trying to frighten women;" it is working to ensure voters have all the critical information needed to make the right decision. It also ensures that Maryland remains a leader on behalf of women and families when it comes to reproductive health.
The writer is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.-
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