How the Midterm Election Results Impacts our Reproductive Health and Rights

The centerpiece of our December Collaboratory was the November 2018 midterm elections and how they are influencing reproductive health and rights both federally, and throughout California. Moderated by Claire Brindis, Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the discussion started with a look at the climate during the midterm elections. Brindis explained Voter turnout in this election estimated to be 50.1%, the highest turnout in a U.S. Midterm election since 1914, when turnout was 50.4%. She also left the audience with a list of important questions that still need to be answered like, "Is Roe vs. Wade actually endangered of being overturned?"

This is a major chess game and I think most of us are sleeping

Claire Brindis on the state of federal sex education policies

Jennifer Dunn, our second presenter, and Lecturer in Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law, gave us a brief but powerful refresh on how the constitution works as well as American democracy. Dunn expertly demonstrated how the Affordable Care Act is impacted by the most recent elections and what areas of legislation the president does and does not have the power to impact. 

Next, Usha Ranji, Associate Director for Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, spoke about the expansion of Medicaid, the erosion of the Affordable Care Act, and Title X Family Planning Programs. Ranji also shared that while federal attempts to defund Planned Parenthood have stopped for now, states continue their efforts.

Finally, the three panelists answered questions from audience members, which ranged from the likelihood of Ohio passing the six-week abortion ban to the state of federal sex education policies to understanding why Republicans are still countering access to contraception in 2018. 

Claire Brindis

engaged audience member

Engaged audience member


Claire Brindis

Claire Brindis

Claire Brindis, DrPH, MPH, is a Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy, Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health Sciences Policy and Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco. As a bilingual, bi-cultural researcher, Dr. Brindis’ research and personal commitment focuses on ameliorating the impact of social, health, and economic disparities among ethnic/racial populations, with a particular focus on women, young adults, and adolescents and reproductive health.


Jennifer Dunn

Jennifer Dunn, J.D. is a Lecturer in Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law and was recently appointed to the faculty in UCSF’s School of Nursing.  Her teaching, research and advocacy focus on access to contraception, abortion and respectful maternity care.  She serves as the UC Hastings Faculty Ambassador to the UC Center on Women’s Health, Gender & Empowerment and is affiliated-faculty with the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy. 

Usha Ranji

Usha Ranji

Usha Ranji, M.S. is the Associate Director for Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Usha is a recognized expert in women’s health policy issues and leads the team’s work on several signature projects, including analyses of the Kaiser Women’s Health Survey and Medicaid benefits survey, tracking changes in women’s insurance coverage, and monitoring changes in Medicaid coverage of family planning and pregnancy-related services. 


See More Photos From the Event!

view the facebook album