Cecile Richards says the best Mother's Day gift in 2017 is a call to your congressperson


This Mother's Day, your mom isn't the only person who deserves a phone call. According to Cecile Richards, today is a perfect day to call your member of Congress.

In a Sunday op-ed for Time, Richards, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's president, reminded readers that the Trump administration already portends disaster for women's rights. In particular, Richards wrote, House Republicans' latest answer to the Affordable Care Act is particularly ominous, for mothers and would-be mothers alike.

The American Health Care Act, which the Donald Trump administration is working hard to jam through Congress, aims both barrels at women. It makes it harder to plan your pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to take care of your children. No matter how many ribbons and bows you put on it, that's one ugly Mother's Day present.
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The AHCA allows states to opt out of the essential health benefits coverage its predecessor put in place. EHBs include maternity and infant care, as well as services like hospitalization, lab tests and pediatric services, all of which would have a negative impact on mothers, especially poor and low-income mothers. What's more, the AHCA obligates new moms to return to or find work within 60 days of giving birth, or lose their insurance. 

"This should be a time when you can devote your energies to caring for and bonding with your baby," Richards wrote, noting that their health care plan seems to assume "mothers can simply strap their baby on their back and pick up where they left off."

The AHCA could also cut protections for pre-existing conditions, which would include having given birth, having had a C-section and having had postpartum depression. Insurers could deny coverage to people who check any of those boxes, or charge them more money. 

As the Trump administration proposes narrowing mothers' access to necessary health care, it has also attempted to narrow access to abortion and contraception: The AHCA would also block federal funding for abortion providers, Planned Parenthood in particular. 

So given all of that, those who are celebrating Mother's Day might consider investing some time for a gift that keeps on giving: "A government that recognizes that women deserve basic human rights and protections," as Richards puts it. There's still time to call.