March 21, 2001
volume 12, no. 80

New York Women Want Health Care Not Abortion, Poll Shows

    NEW YORK, NY (Washington Post, AP from - A new poll shows that when asked what the government can do to help women, New York women prioritize health care and gender pay equity. What's more, NYS women are dissatisfied with the way their representatives in Albany and Washington are handling those issues.

    Quality health care is the top priority for women-63% rank this as the first, second, or third most important of eight issues. Gender pay equity ranks second (60%). Less than half of women (41%) who rate health care and equal pay as one of their top three priorities are satisfied with how the government has handled these issues.

    "Women want better health care and economic equity. Their dissatisfaction on these issues is no surprise, considering that the Institute for Women's Policy Research rates NY as the 51st state for women's health and well-being," said Jessica Shanahan, President of Feminists for Life of New York (FFL-NY).

    The next most important issues to women are ensuring affordable, quality child care (39%) and raising the minimum wage (35%). Of all eight issues tested, women are least satisfied with the government's work on child care (28%).

    Policies intended to help mothers and ease the tension between family and work priorities are less important. Twenty-eight percent prioritize affordable housing for new mothers, as well as flexible work schedules, and 22% emphasize family and medical leave.

    Maintaining the right to have an abortion ties family and medical leave for the least important of these eight issues (22%). The study also dispels the idea that low-income women are the most concerned about maintaining the right to have an abortion.

    Only 13% of women with household incomes below $15,000 place this much emphasis on abortion rights, while 38% of wealthier women ($80,000+) do so. Only three percent of New York women say that abortion is an important issue that currently affects them personally.

    "As we celebrate Women's History Month, we must remember that the earliest feminists were all pro-life and were unwilling to sacrifice our children to advance women's equality," said Shanahan. "Now, we must call on our representatives to open their ears to women's needs and wants, and to do better."

    Commissioned by FFL-NY and conducted by the public policy organization Vital Choices, the poll included 611 randomly selected women in New York State. The overall margin of sampling error is 4%.

March 21, 2001
volume 12, no. 80
Pro Life News
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