A Collaborative Agenda for the Disability and Reproductive Justice … – Center For American Progress

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The Center for American Progress recently hosted a roundtable of more than 20 advocates from the reproductive and disability rights and justice communities—and has compiled the top five policy priorities important to focus on this year.
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Authors’ note: The disability community is rapidly evolving to use identity-first language in place of person-first language. This is because it views disability as being a core component of identity, much like race and gender. Some members of the community, such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, prefer person-first language. In this fact sheet, the terms are used interchangeably.
On November 29, 2022, the Center for American Progress invited more than 20 advocates from the reproductive and disability rights and justice communities to discuss their agendas for 2023 and beyond. After categorizing the meeting notes, the authors compiled a list of the top five issues that attendees highlighted. Although these priorities do not encapsulate every issue that needs to be addressed, they present important opportunities for collaboration in the coming years.

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Disabled people face barriers to accessing high-quality reproductive health care, whether due to a lack of or restricted access to medications, transportation, or accessible medical examination equipment. Federal legislative action could help guarantee access to medications, including methotrexate, that are used to treat a variety of conditions and may have side effects that cause abortion.
Policymakers at the federal administrative level also have a great deal of opportunity to address barriers:
Congress must permanently repeal the Hyde Amendment, the annual appropriations rider that prohibits federal insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare from covering abortion services except in extremely narrow circumstances. Further federal and state reforms will also be critical to ensuring comprehensive coverage of reproductive health services.
At the federal level, policymakers must:
At the state level, policymakers should:
Although increases in coverage and funding are critical, more than 1 million disabled people are in guardianship arrangements that often legally prevent them from making critical decisions about their reproductive lives. Because guardianship is currently largely a state law issue:

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At the same time, federal policymakers can act to improve and reform the U.S. guardianship system:
A variety of opportunities exist to improve how the health care workforce serves disabled people. Federal action, in particular, could help promote a national standard of care. Policymakers should consider:
Even with the improvements above, far too many disabled people are blocked from acquiring necessary education and information on their reproductive options. While seven states require sex education in public schools to be evidence-based, only three states require sex education to be accessible to the disability community. Thirty-six states do not tailor any sex education programs to the disability community. Ultimately, all school and health programs funded by state or federal dollars should be required to provide sex education that is accessible for the disability community. This is particularly necessary for individuals with intellectual disabilities, due to high rates of sexual assault. Lessons should be adjusted depending on disability; for example, lessons that include someone with an intellectual disability should include plain language that fits their communication style. The U.S. Department of Education can start this work by:
The issue areas and policy actions this fact sheet explores are nonexhaustive and represent starting points for change at the local, state, and federal levels. As policymakers work to eliminate barriers to comprehensive and accessible reproductive health care, they must collaborate directly with disability and reproductive rights and justice communities.
Particularly when it comes to federal administrative opportunities, the disability and reproductive rights communities can work with policymakers to increase access, rectify regressive policies, and ensure reproductive freedom and autonomy for disabled people.
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