Statewide support for the Women’s Health Equity Bill (HB 2627/SB 2185)

From President Sherry Elrod:

On Wednesday afternoon, February 14, 2018, I was privileged to represent AAUW Tennessee and AAUW Nashville at a press conference in Nashville organized by Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood to announce statewide support for the Women’s Health Equity Bill (HB 2627/SB 2185). The two sponsors of the bill, Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro and House Representative Johnnie Turner both spoke at the event, explaining the importance of this bill for women of Tennessee. Representative Brenda Gilmore was a co-sponsor of the bill. Three women told personal stories of how having or not having access to affordable reproductive health care had deeply affected their lives.

The Women’s Health Equity Bill requires coverage of contraception in a way that both enshrines and expands the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control benefit, and requires coverage for women’s preventive services. In October 2017, the presidential administration granted power to states to reduce coverage for contraception and women’s preventative health services that were previously provided by the ACA. This bill honors religious freedom by allowing non-profit religious employers to be exempt from covering contraception for their employees, while prohibiting workplace or political discrimination against women regarding their health coverage.

In addition to me, there were representatives from approximately 20 other organizations attending the press conference to show their support for this important piece of legislation. I met representatives from Tennessee Chapter of Physicians for National Health Care, Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee, AWAKE, and League of Women Voters.

Channel 2 was there to film the entire press conference. There was a brief feature on the Channel 2 News at 10 that outlined main points of the bill in a graphic, followed by a brief interview with Senator Yarbro. The press conference was very informative, and those telling their personal stories were a touching feature. I only wish that there had been more coverage time devoted by the news media to this important issue.

Thankful that I was offered the opportunity to represent AAUW,

Sherry Elrod
President, AAUW Nashville