The Women’s Law Project (WLP) released today a major report, Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women, linking sex bias to adverse health outcomes in women. The release of this report coincides with National Women’s Health Week (May 13-19th), during which time organizations around the country are raising awareness about the benefits of the health care law.
Inspired by the public debate on health care, WLP embarked on an examination of the relationship between the sex bias that women experience and their health, resulting in the publication of Through the Lens of Equality. “As familiar as we were with ongoing bias and discrimination against women and with data on critical health measures for women, our in-depth examination of the linkage between the two truly shocked us,” said Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project. “The focus is on Pennsylvania, however, the finding and recommendations have nationwide application,” she added.
“For all of the years that I have been involved in women’s rights and women’s health care, I have never seen the connections between health and equality more dramatically demonstrated that it is in this report,” said Kate Michelman, former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America and long-time Pennsylvania resident who served as a consultant to this project.
Through the Lens of Equality examines the health impact of sexual and intimate partner violence, caregiving responsibilities, poverty, and bias in the workplace, school, and health care. The report delves into the politicization of women’s reproductive health care and shows how women are harmed by limited access to abortion, contraception, and maternity care. It repeatedly points to the importance of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand access to better health care for women, while acknowledging the ACA’s serious gaps, including not mandating abortion coverage.
“This is not a publication about diseases, but instead an exposition of how biased environments in which women live, work, study, and receive health services are infected with outdated notions about women’s role in society which in turn have negative health consequences for them,” said Amal Bass, staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project.
The publication also provides a series of recommendations tailored to both overcoming sex bias and improving women’s health. “Numerous targeted interventions well beyond improving access to insurance through the ACA — are necessary to cure institutional and individual prejudices about women,” said Terry Fromson, Managing Attorney of the WLP. “Failure to do so will result in significant inequitable and avoidable health problems for women,” she added.
Through the Lens of Equality acknowledges the impressive strides that have been made in women’s rights over the past fifty years, but shows that past victories are not enough. “Looking to the future requires insistence on equal treatment, equal access, and equal opportunity to achieve not just healthy women, but a healthy society,” said Susan Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney
The Women’s Law Project is a legal advocacy organization based in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1974, its mission is to create a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. The Law Project engages in high impact litigation, public policy advocacy and community education. Through the Lens of Equality is available at http://www.womenslawproject.org/NewPages/wkTLE_Base.html.