Cecile Richards says the best Mother's Day gift in 2017 is a call to your congressperson

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

This Mother's Day, your mom isn't the only person who deserves a phone call. According to Cecile Richards, today is a perfect day to call your member of Congress.

In a Sunday op-ed for Time, Richards, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's president, reminded readers that the Trump administration already portends disaster for women's rights. In particular, Richards wrote, House Republicans' latest answer to the Affordable Care Act is particularly ominous, for mothers and would-be mothers alike.

The American Health Care Act, which the Donald Trump administration is working hard to jam through Congress, aims both barrels at women. It makes it harder to plan your pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to take care of your children. No matter how many ribbons and bows you put on it, that's one ugly Mother's Day present.

PPFA president Cecile Richards speaking at the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21.
Source: 
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The AHCA allows states to opt out of the essential health benefits coverage its predecessor put in place. EHBs include maternity and infant care, as well as services like hospitalization, lab tests and pediatric services, all of which would have a negative impact on mothers, especially poor and low-income mothers. What's more, the AHCA obligates new moms to return to or find work within 60 days of giving birth, or lose their insurance. 

"This should be a time when you can devote your energies to caring for and bonding with your baby," Richards wrote, noting that their health care plan seems to assume "mothers can simply strap their baby on their back and pick up where they left off."

The AHCA could also cut protections for pre-existing conditions, which would include having given birth, having had a C-section and having had postpartum depression. Insurers could deny coverage to people who check any of those boxes, or charge them more money. 

As the Trump administration proposes narrowing mothers' access to necessary health care, it has also attempted to narrow access to abortion and contraception: The AHCA would also block federal funding for abortion providers, Planned Parenthood in particular. 

So given all of that, those who are celebrating Mother's Day might consider investing some time for a gift that keeps on giving: "A government that recognizes that women deserve basic human rights and protections," as Richards puts it. There's still time to call.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

MORE FROM

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.