How employers can help fix the reproductive health crisis - MedCity News

Since the beginning of the pandemic, women have left the workforce en masse. And one of the biggest factors in women staying in the workforce is their ability to plan when and if they want to become parents, said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

That’s why, after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, it’s vital for employers to support women’s reproductive rights, she said Tuesday at HLTH conference in Las Vegas.

“By taking away that right, we’ve also affected people’s travel across the economy,” Johnson said. “We know it will impact the economy over a billion dollars a year.” We know that so much of our profits have come from investments around things like contraception.”

She also applauded companies that have supported their workforce by providing abortion travel benefits.

“Thank you to every company in the room that stood by your workforce, immediately create a policy to support your workers to ensure that they can get out of state in their travel benefits … All of this I think is extremely important, because what you have done to deal with your workforce also demonstrates where you sit on the issue,” she said.

However, it is also important for employers to support their users and the communities in which they are located, she added.

“You have a choice about where you do business, who you do business with … Too many companies are supporting incredibly hostile lawmakers who are willing to essentially create legislation that will make us second-class citizens,” Johnson said.

Dr. Neil Shah, Chief Medical Officer of Maven Clinic, also highlighted the importance of supporting the reproductive rights of the workforce in a separate panel during the HLTH conference. Maven Clinic, a virtual women’s and family health clinic, announced On Monday, it secured $90 million in Series E funding led by General Catalyst.

“In a tight labor market, recruiting and retaining the best talent means taking care of your reproductive-age workforce,” Shah said. “It also turns out that because of all the injustice that’s built into reproduction, if you care about diversity and equity and inclusion, that’s also really, really important.” Frankly, even in a freer labor market, that’s what I would imagine if you’re an HR or a CEO, or even a CFO, where you want to get better health, because if people are healthier, health care costs also decrease.

Since the Dobbs decision, he said many employers have gone to the Maven Clinic for advice on serving their employees. In response, the company made it easier for pregnant women to seek counseling about their options.

“I still see patients in my clinic every Wednesday afternoon because it’s so frequent,” Shah said. “You meet people who are pregnant and their pregnancy is psychologically distressing, or medically dangerous, or otherwise undesirable, and they need counseling…Many employers have come to us for help and guidance, and not just to have a position on the matter, but to really have solutions for their employees. So what we were able to do very quickly is stand up. We already provided a lot of counseling about pregnancy options, but we made it very accessible.’

Shah also emphasized the importance of employers providing menopause benefits.

“It’s not like a light switch,” he said. “It’s like a multi-year phase of life where people go through a significant change not only in terms of their physiology, but also in terms of the full context of their lives.”

Despite recent turmoil in the women’s and family health sector, Planned Parenthood’s Johnson said there is hope for the future.

“I’m incredibly hopeful looking at Gen Z, I’m incredibly hopeful looking at my kids and the number of stakeholders who have joined our conversation, which traditionally is just a group of maybe radicals and mainstream feminists who are fighting this battle,” she said . “Now everyone understands that abortion is your business too. Abortion affects men, surprise. Abortion affects companies and the workforce, it affects universities, it affects all these people who really didn’t think it was their problem and now they’re showing up.”

Photo: HLTH

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