Women’s Health Policy: Comparison of the Candidates’ Proposals


Women’s Health Policy: Comparison of Candidate’s Proposals

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Reproductive Health


  • Opposes all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the woman’s life and opposes use of federal funds to support or promote abortion
  • Supports so-called “partial birth abortion” ban, criminalizing certain abortions
  • Supports mandatory parental consent


  • No specific proposal outlined by campaign

Sex Education

  • Promotes abstinence-only education programs which do not include information on contraception and safer sex practices
  • Supports increases for abstinence-only funding

International Family Planning

  • Supports Mexico City Policy, prohibiting federal funds to programs offering abortion counseling
  • Supports withholding of funds for UNFPA over concern of funding to coercive abortions in China


  • Supports access to abortion as a “constitutional right”
  • Will only appoint federal judges committed to upholding Roe v. Wade (full access to abortion)
  • Opposes so-called “partial birth” abortion ban


  • Supports requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives in their benefit packages
  • Supports increasing federal funding for Title X family planning services

Sex Education

  • Opposes “abstinence-only” sex education – supports comprehensive education about contraception and STD prevention and abstinence

International Family Planning

  • Supports revocation of Mexico City Policy 3
  • Supports restoring full funding authorized to UNFPA 4

Health Coverage and Access to Care

Provides tax credits and health savings account contributions to low-income families and small employers to help people buy private insurance. Establishes insurance pools and authorizes association health plans. Expands community and rural health centers. Campaign estimates 11 to 17.5 million newly insured.

Expands public program coverage under Medicaid and S-CHIP, provides tax credits for businesses and individual to make insurance more affordable, and expands the safety net. All Americans could buy coverage through the “Congressional Health Plan,” (giving them the same range of plans currently available to members of Congress). Campaign estimates 27 million newly insured.

Work-Family Supports

  • Opposes allowing states to use unemployment funds to give employees paid-leave when caring for a new child, previously allowed by Dept. of Labor5
  • Extends Transitional Medicaid Assistance for 5 years for families receiving welfare cash assistance
  • Supports increasing TANF work requirements to 40 hours per week
  • Supports equal pay for equal work and requiring greater disclosure of employer pay practices
  • Supports raising minimum wage and indexing it to inflation
  • Supports dropping 5-year ban on Medicaid benefits for legal immigrant pregnant women and children
  • Supports expansion of family and medical leave

Long-Term Care and Caregiving

  • Proposes making long-term care insurance premiums tax deductible
  • Proposes new tax policy that would allow caregivers of ill family members an additional exemption
  • Proposes greater access to support services, such as training, respite, and counseling for caregivers
  • Supports Medicaid payment for community and home-based care without a waiver

Clinical Research on Women

No specific position outlined by campaign

  • Supports passage of Women’s Health Office Act, which would ensure that existing federal offices on women’s health receive permanent authorizations 6
  • Supports efforts to include more women in clinical trials
  • Proposes increased funding for research and treatment for breast and cervical cancer Supports increased funding for research on HIV prevention, including microbicides for women

1 Information drawn from candidate’s website, www.georgebush.com.
2 Information drawn from candidate’s website, www.johnkerry.com.
3 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Interview with John Kerry, http://www.e-lection.org/videos/candidate_kerry_wm.html.
4 Goodenough, P., “Decision Not to Fund UNFPA Highlights Bush-Kerry Divide,” www.CNSNews.com, July 19, 2004.
5 Hoover, K., “Bush to Repeal Clinton’s Paid Family Leave ‘Experiment,’ Washington Business Journal, December 13, 2002.
6 Society for Women’s Health Research, “Candidate Responses to Questionnaire,” www.votewomenshealth.org.

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