On the anniversary of the day women earned the right to vote in this country, we joined a new fight — the fight for a fair wage in Maine by announcing our support of the minimum wage increase to $12 an hour by 2020, Question 4 on this November’s ballot. At Planned Parenthood, we believe that increasing the minimum wage will improve lives, because we know that your ability to realize the life you wish for yourself is intrinsically linked to your health, economic security, and ability to live free of discrimination.
All too often we hear from our patients that were it not for Planned Parenthood, they would have to decide between getting health care or paying their rent. Patient stories like, Ashley, a tipped worker, living paycheck to paycheck, came to us in July suffering from an allergic reaction to her birth control. She was scared, uninsured, worried she would miss work and not sure how she was going to afford treatment – the cost was almost double what she could afford. Thankfully we were here to help and provide her the care she needed, but the experience had a lasting impact on Ashley, who asked “If I can’t even afford to pay for birth control, how am I going to be able to support a child?”
We are so glad we were there for Ashley and that we are there for thousands of Mainers who need and are entitled to health care, but the sad truth is that we are not everywhere. Tens of thousands of Mainers earning minimum wage are going without health care because they can’t afford it. If Question 4 passes, more than 81,000 women in Maine will get a raise of approximately $3,557 a year – putting a dent in the many barriers low-income women face to make ends meet.
More women will be able to have meaningful access to health care, bringing us closer to a state where women are able to achieve economic security. We shouldn’t have to rely on a sliding fee scale, tips, or the hopes of winning the lottery to chase our dreams. Join us today by supporting Mainers for Fair Wage and be sure to exercise your right to vote November 8, 2016.