Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church acknowledge the need for universal and equitable access to good quality health care that allows for equal utilization for those with equal need; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention acknowledge that the United States must acknowledge that equitable access to women’s health care, including women’s reproductive health care, is an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being; and be it further
Resolved, That The Episcopal Church recognize that women’s reproductive health and reproductive health procedures should be treated as all other medical procedures, and not singled out by gender; and be it further
Resolved, That The Episcopal Church support health care that takes into account the specific health care needs of all persons, including women and transgendered persons; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention direct the Office of Government Relations and the Episcopal Public Policy Network to urge all Episcopalians to advocate for our government to work to address the specific needs of health care for everyone, especially women and girl’s health care, by:
- Supporting legislation that creates equal utilization of health care for those in equal need, regardless of ability to pay and reject reasons for unequal use;
- Advocating for everyone to have the right to make decisions about their bodies and those decisions should be between themselves and their provider;
- Ensuring equal access to every health care service regardless of gender;
- Ensuring health care is equal in coverage and cost regardless of gender.
The United States lags behind most developed nations in providing health care. The U.S. life expectancies have dropped for the last two years in a row, with the life expectancy of women regressing at a faster pace. The U.S. child mortality rates are the worst among the top twenty wealthiest countries. The United States is worse for maternal health than we were twenty-five years ago, with 50,000 preventable deaths or near-deaths occurring annually. The U. S has seen a 70% increase in maternal mortality in the past twenty years. (Center for Disease Control)
And these facts, many of which show the regression of women’s health care, are only compounded when you add poverty and race to the mix. Poverty tends to yield higher burdens on women and girls’ health. And race, also exacerbates the problems. African-American women are three to four times more likely to die in child birth than Caucasian women. Even education does not equalize these results. Africa- American women with advanced degrees are more likely to lose their baby than Caucasian women with less than an eighth grade education.
Recent policies in health care have continued to cause a burden on people of color and people in poverty. Health care is not accessible to all who need it regardless of ability to pay. Health care access does not take create equitable outcomes for all who access it. For example, before the Affordable Care Act, women were charged up to eighty percent more for health care, and certain plans did not cover reproductive or maternal services.
The United States seems to be creating barriers to health care more than creating equal access. Health care access for the low income, women and especially women of color, continues to be chipped away at and even denied.
In Resolution 1994-A054, The Episcopal Church stated, “ the responsibility of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter is acknowledged and honored as the position of this Church; and be it further Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church express its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.
The Episcopal Church needs to continue its support of the rights of women and to support equal access to all health care, health care that is not discriminatory to gender, gender identity, income or color. Health care that recognizes equitable health outcomes should be the priority of health care, regardless of ability to pay, gender or race.
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