I, like you, I am tired. I am tired of COVID-19 and the ongoing suffering and loss so many people feel as a result of this deadly virus. However, the caveat for me, and my hope for you is that COVID-19 is not tired of us. Therefore, we must continue to be vigilant, resilient, and purposeful in our fight against this virus. We must not be led by our emotions, but instead directed by science. And we must hold our elected leaders accountable as they address the continued spread and ongoing health and economic ramifications of COVID-19.
Our work is cut out for us. We have listened, and we have heard that people want better access to health care, reproductive freedom, and an economy that works for everyone. People don’t want a rushed process to confirm a nominee to a lifetime position on the highest court in the land. Yet, today, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, concluding the Senate majority’s unprecedented and illegitimate confirmation process led by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which Sens. Braun and Young also supported. This brings us one step closer to overturning Roe v. Wade, and the end of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In the past decade, states have passed legislation that effectively restricts safe and legal abortion and therefore puts lives at risk. Indiana tops the list in anti-reproductive rights legislation. Restrictions such as mandatory waiting periods with two-trip requirements, bans on insurance coverage, and telehealth abortion bans that limit access for people with low incomes and communities of color.
The ACA provides coverage for “pre-existing conditions” and protects the medical treatment and care of those who are pregnant and for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. It also protects those with high risk diagnosis including but not limited to diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer.
One week after the election, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to the ACA. Months after the vote, access to affordable health care could be eliminated. This would mean that 654,000 Hoosiers would lose their insurance in the middle of a global pandemic.
All of the candidates Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky have endorsed support the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, civil rights, voting rights, and Workers’ rights.
With all that is at stake, the U.S. Senate is rushing to fill the a Supreme Court seat before passing any pandemic relief — underscoring a complete disregard for the public health crisis that has infected more than 8 million people in the U.S., including 155,000 people in Indiana and taken the lives of more than 220,000, and left 7.9 percent of the workforce without a job.
To be clear there is plenty to be tired of —COVID-19, racial injustice and police brutality that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown people in our communities.
The urgency is clear: we must elect progressive, reproductive health and social justice champions up and down the ballot. On Nov. 4, we need to stay engaged and present as we fight for inclusion for all people and the elimination of institutional racism and discrimination.
Join us in this very important commitment!
LaKimba DeSadier is Indiana State Director for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.