This post is written by Marty Walz, President of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.
Talking about sex and sexual health in the State House’s Great Hall might be awkward for some who work in the building – but it is far overdue. That’s why more than 30 organizations will host the state’s first-ever Sexual Healthy Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 3 (rescheduled from January 28 due to the storm). Think it’s time to talk about sex? Find more information here.
More than 200 activists will come to Beacon Hill to push for legislation that will make Massachusetts a healthier place to live. In one of her first public addresses since her swearing-in, Attorney General Maura Healey will share her thoughts on why prioritizing sexual health is essential for Massachusetts. In addition, five young people from local high schools and colleges will share personal stories about why comprehensive sex ed, access to birth control, and other sexual health issues are important to them and why they should be prioritized this legislative session.
Massachusetts is one of only 16 states in the country that does not require any sexuality or HIV/sexually transmitted infection education in schools. By passing An Act Relative to Healthy Youth, we can ensure our young people receive the information they need to form healthy relationships and make healthy decisions if their schools provide sexuality education.
For some, especially young people and victims of domestic violence, the fear of personal health information being mailed to their parents or spouse keeps them from accessing the health care services they need. By passing An Act Relative to Protecting Access to Confidential Health Care, we can ensure that patient privacy is protected so people seek the care they need. This bill would remove barriers to care by enhancing patient privacy for patients insured as dependents.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) guaranteed women access to preventive health care without co-pays so all women, regardless of their economic status, could access basic health care. Unfortunately, a lack of clarity around the ACA has resulted in inconsistent implementation and, in certain cases, complete denial of coverage for certain types of birth control, even when the woman’s medical history justifies an alternative option. By passing An Act Relative to Women’s Health and Economic Equity, we can close the loopholes and fulfill the ACA’s promise that all Massachusetts women have access to the birth control that best meets their individual health care needs.
Sound aspirational? Yes, but completely achievable through these commonsense legislative proposals that health care, advocacy, and education groups from across Massachusetts support.
Please join us to meet with your state representative and senator to ask them to co-sponsor legislation that will make all these objectives a reality.