20 Oct 2020
Posted in Pharma
US 2020 elections to determine the fate of several key reproductive health policies
Reproductive health topics are perhaps some of the most divisive in US politics, with President Donald Trump, and his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, taking vastly different positions on several key issues in this area. Reforms restricting or broadening abortion rights, use of federal funding for abortions, and coverage of contraceptive methods at no out-of-pocket cost, will be influenced by the election outcome. Furthermore, a probable conservative-leaning Supreme Court has triggered additional uncertainty regarding the fate of these issues, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
On the abortion’s rights front, Trump and the Republican Party are ‘pro-life,’ whereas Biden and the Democratic Party are ‘pro-choice.’ The Republican Party’s ideology aims to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Kelly Lambrinos, Managing Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “If the ruling is overturned, the right to abortion would become a battle in several states. This means certain states could quickly ban abortion; some would maintain abortion rights, while other states would pass stricter abortion bills that limit access to the procedure.”
Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative judge, to the Supreme Court further demonstrates his commitment to ‘protect unborn life through every means available.’ In light of these latest developments, the fate of the Roe v. Wade ruling becomes even more uncertain. If Republicans control both the Presidency and the Congress following the election, it is likely that each state’s freedom in regulating abortion will be restricted. A possible conservative-leaning Supreme Court will increase the likelihood of this scenario.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party strongly opposes the overturning of Roe v. Wade and any state and federal laws that prohibit women’s access to abortion.
Lambrinos continues: “If the Democrats control both the Presidency and the Congress following the election, it is likely that abortion rights will be supported and restrictions will be loosened around abortions.”
Furthermore, Trump supports the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds for abortion with exceptions being situations to save the life of the woman, or for pregnancy resulting from incest or rape. This impacts free access to abortion services for lower-income women on Medicaid. Biden reversed his long-standing position last year, when he announced he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment.
Lambrinos adds: “Biden’s plans to expand federal family planning funds is expected to favorably affect mostly low-income women or those seeking abortions under Medicaid.”
Lastly, another key reproductive health topic pertains to the access of affordable contraception. Under the ACA, insurance companies are required to cover contraceptive methods without a copayment when provided by an in-network provider. Whether the ACA is abolished and access to contraceptive coverage is changed or eliminated will depend on what happens in the Supreme Court.
Lambrinos concludes: “If the ACA is abolished, coverage of contraceptives will fall onto the states and low-income women might face additional barriers accessing contraceptives at no out-of-pocket cost.”