After decades of pursuing public health policies to reduce unintended pregnancies in South Carolina, New Morning President & CEO Bonnie Kapp had a bold idea.
What if we made birth control available at little to no cost in every community, in every county, for every person with a uterus in South Carolina, regardless of health insurance coverage? What if we did this against a backdrop of relentless political attacks on reproductive rights and a weak healthcare infrastructure, where 30% of counties have no OB/GYN providers, the average distance to a family medicine practitioner is 37 miles, and 29 of 46 counties in the state are 100% medically underserved?
Against these odds, Choose Well was established in 2017. Choose Well works across a network of 119 health centers to provide free or low-cost birth control across South Carolina. In just four years, it has become the largest state-based contraceptive access program in the nation.
Today on the podcast to talk about the impressive program are New Morning Foundation's President and CEO, Bonnie Kapp, and Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Kelly.
Bonnie and Sarah discuss the backdrop of historical and contemporary barriers to reproductive health access in South Carolina, how the Choose Well program works and has managed to serve over 300,000 South Carolinians to date, what challenges they've encountered, and what lessons they've learned that can be applied to other states in the fight for equitable, comprehensive contraceptive access.
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Did you know that childcare is now more expensive than college in 33 states? While parenthood is beautiful, there's no need to go into it blind. If you're planning to start a family, now is the time to start planning for the financial costs of child-rearing, both from the perspective of short-term, monthly cash-flow and the long-term implications that parenthood-related career choices have on lifetime earnings and savings.
Here to talk on the podcast are experts in financial family planning: Siran Cao and Mel Faxon, founders of Mirza, a platform helping empower parents and future parents to take control of their finances and plan for a family.
We discuss the "motherhood penalty," created by lack of access to paid leave, cultural roles that make mothers the default parent, and workplace cultures that penalize mothers - and the impact that this penalty has on long-term earnings and financial health. Siran and Mel also advise future parents on when they should start family financial planning, how to do so, and what to consider (hint: we discuss at length the shockingly high cost of childcare in the United States, which often catches parents off guard).
Lastly, Mel and Siran discuss public policy and workplace solutions to the lack of support for parents: what changes are needed for paid parental leave and affordable childcare, and how we must create a culture that promotes gender equity in parenting at all levels, including in the design of our workplace cultures and policies.
- Care.com: This is How Much Child Care Costs in 2021
- CNBC: New Census data reveals no progress has been made on closing the overall gender pay gap (2018-2019 data)
- Study on the motherhood penalty:
"Children and Gender Inequality: Evidence from Denmark"
"Using Danish administrative data from 1980-2013 and an event study approach, we show that most of the remaining gender inequality in earnings is due to children. The arrival of children creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20% in the long run, driven in roughly equal proportions by labor force participation, hours of work, and wage rates."
- Forbes: Why Being a Woman Can Cost You More than $400,000
"According to a new analysis of the wage gap by the National Women's Law Center, a woman who is starting her career now will earn $430,480 less than her male counterpart over the course of a 40-year career, if the current wage gap persists. For many minorities, the losses are even larger: African American women will earn $877,480 less over those 40 years, Native American women will earn $883,040 less and and Latina women will miss out on a whopping $1,007,080 in lifetime wages."
On September 1, Texas enacted S.B. 8, an outrageous abortion ban that not only amounts to an effective total ban on abortions, but creates a bizarre bounty hunter situation where anyone can sue another person for assisting someone who has an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy - and be rewarded with $10,000 plus attorney fees if they succeed. In a country of draconian abortion laws, this is the most wack-a-doodle one yet, and probably the scariest - as the Supreme Court, in a signal of how they plan to treat any challenges to Roe (the next of which happens next month), declined to strike the law down. Things are heating up in Gilead, and it's not good.
Here to talk about what's going on in Texas is Elisa Wells, co-founder of Plan C Pills. Plan C Pills is a website that provides information on how Americans, in any state, can access abortion pills online. Elisa explains what's going on in Texas, how access is similarly limited in other states, and how mail-order abortion pills can help. No matter what state you're in, you can access abortion pills by mail, and Plan C can help you figure out how.
Elisa also discusses tons of resources for legal questions, medical questions, and general support related to seeking or completing a medicine abortion.
Lastly and importantly, we discuss how you can help by spreading the word and donating to organizations increasing equitable access to abortion in Texas and all over the United States.
Please check out the resources linked in the notes (below) and help us get the word out.
Resources (in the order discussed on the podcast):