The Womxn Project is calling on the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Legislative Leaders to advance a budget that truly meets the needs of women and families!
(Providence, RI) – Statement by Jocelyn Foye, The Womxn Project is publicly calling on the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to leave bans on health coverage for abortion out of the FY 22 state budget:
“It is often said that a budget is a statement of priorities. It shows what matters to people. Women should matter. Families should matter. Access to quality medical care should matter – and that includes abortion.
Our communities are still trying to survive a pandemic. Black, Indigenous and other people of color, low-income families and people with disabilities in our state have been especially hard hit. It is more important than ever that we do all we can to ensure each of us makes a living wage, has a safe place to live and that everyone has access to the full-spectrum of health care they need, including abortion.
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. Today, The Womxn Project is calling on the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor to show bold leadership and take a critical first step toward realizing this vision by eliminating abortion coverage restrictions from the Rhode Island state budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (Click here to read TWP’s letter). This would not only ensure that our state budget reflects our shared values around health care access and reproductive rights, 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. Covid-19 exposed the long-standing structural racism and inequities in our health systems. 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 crisis.
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. There is also strong support for proposals to make sure that private and public health insurance programs provide coverage for doulas. Research shows that ensuring access to birth workers improves health outcomes for birthing people and infants. It is also a strategic way to begin to address the maternal mortality crisis facing Black women.
A budget is a moral document. We stand in solidarity with advocates urging support for doula coverage, as well as asks to ensure access to affordable housing and increase the benefits for people using the Rhode Island Works program. We must do all we can to help the people who have been hurt most not only in this time, but by ongoing systemic racism and the cycle of poverty.
We urge you to listen to the needs of our communities and to make a clear and definitive statement that discriminatory abortion coverage bans have no place in the public policy of the state of Rhode Island by eliminating all such restrictions from the FY 2022 state budget. This will send a strong message of leadership that everyone should be able to decide when and how to start a family and that you are serious about closing gaps in access to the health care people need and the services to not only get by, but to thrive.”
Jocelyn Foye is available for interview by request.
“By denying health coverage for abortion for people who use Medicaid or putting up extra barriers for young people, the government has way too much control over a person’s body and their future. We expect our lawmakers to advance policies that help to improve our lives –not put up barriers to care or prioritize big business over real people. Our leaders have 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.” – Jocelyn Foye, Executive Director, The Womxn Project