By Ryan Velez
Reproductive rights are an important issue for women both politically and in terms of their health. What may be more surprising is that it is also an important matter financially, especially for women of color in business. Black Enterprise explains the connection, on the heels of a group of women small business owners supporting continued coverage of a federal rule that guaranteed free contraception co-pay to more than 62 million women.
That coverage is currently under attack with Trump and his administration eliminating birth control coverage offered under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. With Trump’s repeal, public and private employers can cite religious or moral objections to refuse birth control via their insurance plans. This means that female employees may have to pay themselves for contraception.
A new poll by advocacy group Small Business Majority surveyed 507 female entrepreneurs and discovered that 56% said that access to birth control and the ability to decide if and when to have children allowed them to advance in their careers and start their businesses. As an added note, the poll included oversamples of African-Americans and Latinas, one part of a massively growing segment of the nation’s economy.
One needs to look no further than the recent census data to see exactly how this plays out. This shows that there are 8.9 million women-owned businesses contributing $1.35 trillion in sales in America. Plus, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the Trump administration over new rules the Department of Health and Human Services announced that ease the ACA requirement that employers and insurers provide contraception coverage, according to CBS News.
“The Trump administration is forcing women to pay for their boss’s religious beliefs,” ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri stated. “We’re filing this lawsuit because the federal government cannot authorize discrimination against women in the name of religion or otherwise.”
The Small Business Majority survey also shows that 79% of female business owners concur that access to reproductive healthcare is important for women’s economic well-being and stability. Another 79% agree we need to ensure all women have access to affordable, reproductive health care as a basic economic issue for our families. 56% of women small business owners mentioned that their ability to access birth control and to decide if and when to have children allowed them to advance in their careers and start their own business.