Indiana ranks 49th in the United States for access to family planning services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gives our state an unsatisfactory grade for its efforts to provide women’s health care. Most notably, more than 400, 000 Hoosier women are uninsured.
These are important and troubling numbers for two reasons: Not only are we leaving Hoosier women behind, but these women often are the ones making critical decisions – from finances to education to health care – for their families. The problem of access to services builds on itself in a very unhealthy way.
From the Statehouse to Capitol Hill, the Indiana Democratic Party believes we need to get more women involved in the creation of policies that will improve their lives. That’s why we launched the 51 Percent Club, a statewide effort to re-engage the hundreds of thousands of Hoosier women who voted in the 2008 Democratic Primary but did not vote in 2010.
Two years ago, Indiana Democrats lost the Statehouse majority and two seats in Congress, and the Republicans at the Statehouse subsequently redrew the House and Senate district maps to intentionally cripple our chances of winning back a majority in either chamber over the next decade.
Those hundreds of thousands of votes could have made a huge difference, and we are committed to recruiting those votes this year by making it clear that when women vote, women win. To make sure we earn the trust and respect of those women voters, we must:
• Promote the health and safety of women and their families, including access to vital health services through community organizations and non-profits.
• Continue to fight for equal pay for equal work. Women in Indiana only made 72 percent of what men earned
in median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers in 2010, the fifth-worst wage gap in the country. This is unacceptable. We can and we must do better for women in our state.
• Protect survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking through legislation that ensures all women – including immigrants, LGBT and Native American victims – are treated equally. There is no place for politics when it comes to protecting women and the family and friends who love them.