Health & Safety of Women and Girls

YWCA is committed to the health and safety of women and girls of color. If women and girls of color do not have access to high-quality health and safety resources or support systems, they cannot be empowered. The disproportionately negative health and safety outcomes for women and girls of color is a prime example of the ways institutional racism and sexism work together.


Here is some information about the issues, where we stand, and questions you can ask candidates running for public office this year so that you can be informed when you head to the polls.  In 2018, voters will cast their ballots for elected officials who will determine public policy on major issues that impact the lives of women, girls, and people of color. Together, we can make a difference by ensuring our communities and our voices are heard! 



YWCA believes that all women deserve to live free from violence, abuse, and threats. However, violence against women continues to impact the lives of countless women and their families across the United States. Women and girls of all ages, income levels, racial and ethnic communities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious affiliations experience violence in the form of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking.

As the largest network of domestic violence service providers provider of domestic violence services in the United States, YWCA supports legislation and public policies that protect survivors, hold perpetrators accountable and work to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, trafficking in women and girls, and dating violence. Specifically, we support the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the Family Violence Prevention Act (FVPSA), and other legislation that is inclusive of the needs of all victims of violence, particularly those who often experience higher risks of violence, such as native women, immigrants, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ survivors.


  • What is your position on legislation to prevent and address gender-based violence, such as VAWAFVPSA, and VOCA? Why?

  • If elected, what would you do to help prevent and end violence against women?

  • What support/services do you believe survivors of gender-based violence are in need of? What steps will you take to ensure those needs are met?


YWCA believes that quality, affordable health care is critical to everyone, but for many women, children, and people of color getting the insurance coverage and medical care they need is a struggle. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as "ObamaCare"), together with programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are vital to helping women and their families manage the cost and accessibility of health care. The ACA has provided far-reaching benefits to women, including preventative health services like mammograms, immunizations, prenatal care, domestic violence screenings, and contraception without cost-sharing. The ACA also prevents insurance companies from denying or rescinding coverage because of pre-existing conditions, including domestic violence, cesarean sections, and cancer. In addition, protecting access to the full range of reproductive health services is an especially important issue for women. Contraception, STI testing and treatment, maternal healthcare, and other medical services are vital to the lives and well-being of women and must be fundamental components of quality healthcare.

YWCA supports the strong and viable healthcare infrastructure currently provided by the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, state health insurance programs, and reproductive health service providers. YWCA opposes repeal of the ACA without a comprehensive replacement that preserves protections for women and families. YWCA also opposes changes to Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP that would weaken benefits or reduce the number of people eligible for coverage. Moreover, YWCA opposes efforts to limit the ability of reproductive health service providers to provide accessible, safe, and comprehensive services to patients.



  • What is your position on the Affordable Care Act?

  • What is your position on Medicaid expansion? How would you increase access to health care for very low and low-income Americans?

  • What steps will you take to ensure that children do not go without access to quality, affordable healthcare?

YWCA believes that all people should have equal access to timely, quality maternal health care services, including family planning services. The reality, however, is that disparate access to quality, accessible, and culturally-appropriate health care is a driving factor in the tremendous racial disparities in maternal health outcomes in the U.S. While maternal mortality rates have been decreasing worldwide, in the U.S., the rate at which women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth has increased over the last 15 years. In addition, each year, tens of thousands of additional women suffer "severe maternal morbidity," complications of pregnancy or childbirth so severe that they almost die. Within this broader context, women of color experience even higher rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity.

YWCA supports efforts to improve maternal health outcomes for women of color. To this end, YWCA supports legislation and public policy at the federal, state, and local levels that addresses racial health disparities by reducing maternal mortality and improving access to quality maternal health services.



  • What is your position on the Maternal Health Accountability Act (S. 1112) and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318), which would XYZ?

  • How would you improve maternal health outcomes for women of color, and reduce maternal mortality?

  • What steps will you take to ensure that women have access to the full range of reproductive health options, for example, contraception, STI testing and treatment, maternal health care, and prenatal care?

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