Jocelyn Foye, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, September 30, 2022
Governor Commits to Getting Abortion Bans Out of State Budget
Activists commend McKee making a public commitment to get policies denying health coverage for abortion out of the Rhode Island budget – and pushing to make this change permanent by passing the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act.
[Providence, RI] – Statement from Jocelyn Foye on sitting governor and candidate for Governor Daniel McKee making a public commitment to introduce a state budget that does not perpetuate discriminatory bans on health coverage for abortion for state employees and people who use Medicaid:
“We are thrilled to see that after years of organizing and activists and advocates from across the state urging the governor to make the right to abortion real by removing arbitrary and harmful financial barriers that the governor is taking action. Governor Daniel McKee has made public statements about his support for the right to abortion, but we have been pushing for action to get bans out of our state budget.
A majority of voters agree that someone enrolled in Medicaid should have all of their pregnancy-related health care covered by their insurance. That includes abortion services. A budget is a moral document. Discriminatory abortion coverage bans have no place in the public policy of the state of Rhode Island. We thank the governor for making this commitment and urge him to do all he can to help pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act. Rhode Islanders should not have to wait each year to see if an essential health service will be covered or not. We need to pass the EACA to ensure that policies that take away our right to abortion by pushing care out of reach are not allowed to stand every again.
The ability to get an abortion should not be limited by the type of insurance you use or how much money you have in the bank. The Womxn Project has repeatedly called on Governor McKee to show leadership by eliminating abortion coverage restrictions from the Rhode Island state budget. We have shared several communications over the years, met with key staff and worked with activists and organizational partners throughout the state. We have organized voters and shown strong public support for the EACA. We are happy to see that the governor is listening to the huge public outcry and stepping up in this time of unprecedented attacks on our right to abortion and bodily autonomy.
Eliminating these bans would not only help to ensure abortion access, but studies have also shown that providing coverage for abortion can actually result in savings for insurance programs and increased financial stabilities in situations where people are not prepared to add to their families and are not forced to forego paying for things like rent or groceries because they are denied insurance coverage for an abortion.
Withholding coverage for abortion care creates profound hardships, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving care. We know that same systemic racism and barriers to equal opportunity are at the core of abortion coverage bans like the federal Hyde amendment and state laws like the one in Rhode Island that deny coverage for people who use Medicaid and state employees. These bans disproportionately impact the same communities who have been hurt most in this time of rising costs and inflation.
It is way past time to get rid of discriminatory bans on health coverage for abortion and truly protect the right to abortion. Abortion bans cause real harm. We urge the governor to come through on this commitment to get bans out of the budget and we are putting every candidate for office on notice that we will show up on day one and every day of the 2023 session until we get the bill enacted. We are not waiting anymore.”
Jocelyn Foye is available for an interview by request.
“For years, Rhode Island leaders have allowed health coverage to be denied for people who happen to use public health programs. The governor now has an opportunity to create a budget that reflects our values and truly meets the needs of women and families, people of color, and low-income Rhode Islanders by getting rid of harmful bans on health coverage for abortion.” Jocelyn Foye, Executive Director, The Womxn Project