The Womxn Project is 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 proud to submit testimony in support of S2548, which creates a special enrollment period for pregnancy to help more Rhode Islanders get coverage for a healthy pregnancy. It is being heard in Senate Health & Human Services.
Research suggests that an increasing number of pregnant women in the U.S. have health conditions that increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Black women are 3-4x more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Without insurance coverage, there is limited access to prenatal care and higher risk of poor maternal and infant health outcomes.
High-risk pregnancies and the number of women with inadequate access to preventive and maternal health care are known causes of maternal mortality rates. People who do not receive prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than those who do have access to prenatal care.
Various studies have found that between 25-40 percent of maternal deaths could have been prevented through improved access to and quality of medical care and other support services. The maternal mortality and pregnancy complication rate in the United States also shines a light on the disparities in outcomes on the basis of race.
Women of color are less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services and more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than White women. They are more likely to work in low wage jobs without adequate health coverage, flexible time to make and keep appointments or paid family leave needed to heal and care for themselves and their child after birth. We have so much more to do for the health and dignity of women of color and their families. This bill is one step we can take.
Advocates both federally and in a number of states have sought to make pregnancy a qualifying life event that would trigger a special enrollment period (SEP). This allows people to enroll for coverage when they become pregnant. Early, adequate, and regular prenatal care is essential for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, because it provides education, counseling, screening, and management for these preexisting health conditions and risk factors.
This legislation is an important first step to improve maternal health and birth equity in our step along with the past support of coverage for doula services, and the bills to expand medical assistance for pregnant folks (S2502) and to ensure when someone needs to end a pregnancy they can afford compassionate quality care (S2549). We must do more to close gaps and get Rhode Islanders the support they need whether they choose adoption, seek abortion or want to come first time parents or add to their families. We urge you to support this package of bills. Thank you for your consideration.
Contact: Emma Gauthier, [email protected], 401-400-0061