Please see below for the text of Jay McCreight’s radio address this week on behalf of the Maine Dems. Jay represents Harpswell, West Bath and part of Brunswick. Check it out and give her some feedback.
Reproductive health promotes women’s economic security.
Lawmakers should join together to build pathways to prosperity, strengthen the middle class.
When women succeed, so do their families, their communities and the economy. The decisions of policymakers can have profound effects on the economic security of women.
Good morning. I’m Representative Jay McCreight, and I represent House District 51 which is Harpswell, West Bath and part of Brunswick. Thank you for tuning in.
Women account for half of the workforce, and a growing number are breadwinners for the families – women often are the sole ones supporting their families.
Yet women are more likely to work in minimum wage and other low-wage jobs and to go without health care. And women often lack affordable high-quality child care that allows them to support and provide stability to their families.
This year in the Legislature, we have a number of bills that promote women’s economic security. Many of them fall into the categories of a livable wage, early childhood education, fair workplace scheduling and access to reproductive health. I’m proud to sponsor a bill in that last category.
Before I was a lawmaker, I was a social worker with a specialty in working with children and families. During my 30-year career, I saw many instances of how reproductive health and access to affordable health care is profoundly linked to economic security and opportunity. Without control over the timing and the spacing of her family – or the decision to not have children – a woman is not able to take full advantage of economic and career opportunities.
We know that low-income women are more than five times as likely to experience an unintended pregnancy. This has significant implications for social mobility and is associated with higher poverty rates, less family stability and worse outcomes for the children.
We also know that too many low-income Mainers – both women and men – need access to critical disease prevention. We know that prevention is cheaper than cure and that we can prevent enormous human costs as well.
My bill would increase access to reproductive health and preventative care.
It directs the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to submit a family planning state plan amendment to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This would provide coverage for adults with incomes of up to 209 percent of the poverty level. That’s about $24,000 for an individual, or $32,400 for a parent with one child.
Right now, Maine women under that income level quality for MaineCare if they become pregnant and their children are also covered. This is at a cost of about $11 million annually.
Smart spending policies provide undeniable cost savings for taxpayers. Thirty other states have already taken advantage of this option. Maine needs to join them.
Unintended pregnancies, cancers and sexually transmitted diseases are life-changing and expensive in every sense.
All of these situations have very high costs associated with them, including interrupted or incomplete educational achievement, interrupted careers and underemployment. They can contribute to lasting poverty and economic insecurity.
We can prevent these outcomes for many Mainers. We must come together to build pathways to prosperity, increase the economic security of women and strengthen the middle class.
I’m Representative Jay McCreight of Harpswell. Thank you listening – and Happy Women’s History Month to all of you.