My name is Emma Gauthier and I am writing to you on behalf of The Womxn Project. We are a statewide organization focused on leveraging the power of art, activism, advocacy, and education to advance the principles of reproductive justice, which demands that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families, and futures and that we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
We are urging you to support H7442, the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act. Today, Rhode Island law treats the right to abortion according to two different standards: whether you can afford to pay either out of pocket or with private health care for your rights or not. That is not equality. And it is not ok.
We need to get rid of the bans on health coverage for abortion that deny health coverage for abortion for state employees and people who use Medicaid. Women of color are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and are more likely to use the state Medicaid program which means the state ban on Medicaid coverage disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
Research has shown that for a person struggling to get by, taking away benefits for abortion means they may have to forego paying for things like rent or groceries to pay for medical care including abortion. This puts people’s health and well-being at risk. Decades under these state policies have resulted in too many people and their families being pushed further into poverty as they scramble to find the money for an abortion.
Repealing these restrictions will not ensure full equality for poor women and women of color. But doing so is a necessary first step. Anyone who cares about fighting racism and poverty must realize that attacks on abortion—and especially on abortion coverage—are first and foremost attacks on poor women and women of color.
I urge you to vote yes on H7442. Every person should be able to afford the healthcare they need to plan for their families and future. Thank you.
Emma Gauthier | Volunteer Lobbyist
The Womxn Project