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.
I am writing first to oppose some extremely concerning bills attacking abortion providers and trying to push medically unnecessary requirements for abortion providers. They are dangerous and should be stopped. Please, vote not on S2386, S2625, S2387 and S2626. I am also urging you to support S2549, 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.
People who provide abortion care should be treated with respect and every person should be able to afford the healthcare they need to plan their families and future. Please, vote YES on S2549. Please, vote NO S2386, S2625, S2387 and S2626. Thank you.
Contact: Emma Gauthier, [email protected], (401) 400-0061
STRONG Support of S2549, the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act and URGENT opposition to S2386, S2625, S2387 and S2626.
My name is Jocelyn Foye 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.
I am here to strongly support S2549. I applaud Representative Liana Cassar, Senator Bridget Valverde along with the 21 senators and 36 House members who introduced and are sponsoring the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act. For decades, policies have taken away health coverage for abortion in Rhode Island for state employees and people who use Medicaid, some of our most vulnerable community members.
I also want to make it clear that I strongly oppose a set of bills you are hearing today that use the term “born alive” and push deceptive claims about providers and abortion. S2386, S2625, S2387 imply that doctors or health professionals who provide abortions would ever withhold care from an infant. It is insulting and dangerous to imply that this is happening. We are so honored to work with incredible health providers around the state. They are compassionate and caring. They work hard to ensure when people need an abortion that they can get one in spite of the harassment they face and the horrible lies that are told about them.
We are are also very opposed to S2626. This bill could cause real harm by putting up medically unnecessary requirements for abortion providers – not to make care more safe, which it already is, but to make abortion harder to provide. It requires that facilities that provide abortion should have to go through special licensing. Let’s be clear abortion is incredibly safe with a complication rate of less than 1%. This is not about safety. These bills, which have been pushed across the country, are about special requirements to try to make it harder to provide care – and in some cases to force clinics to close due to costly requirements. I am uncomfortable that folks without medical training are trying to create special obstacles or requirements for a health procedure. This is wrong and will NOT help patients in need of abortion care.
I am proud we have protected the right to abortion in our state, but we are taking away some people’s decisions just because they happen to use a public insurance program. The EACA would ensure health coverage for abortion care.
A person facing an unintended pregnancy can’t really make the best decision for themselves if they are denied health insurance benefits. This takes away decision making for the single mother struggling to support her family who is told Medicaid won’t pay for her care and puts money aside that she can possibly spare from each paycheck trying to save enough, but is pushed later into pregnancy as she tries to scramble or the person who has a young child already is facing serious postpartum depression while taking care of their family and finds out she is pregnant again and can’t afford another child, but also can’t afford the $500 to pay out of pocket because they are a state employee and don’t have coverage.
I believe we should have compassion and make sure that when someone needs an abortion that they can get one. Only they can or should make that decision. When someone faces an unintended pregnancy whether they choose adoption, seek an abortion or add to their family, they will need health care. Regardless of the decision a person makes, they need care and an arbitrary denial of insurance should not happen because of some political policy that does not consider the harm to the individual who needs an abortion. We have worked to expand access to care to help with healthy pregnancies. That is so important. We need to ensure the full range of options are available to every Rhode Islander.
I am urging you to lift the restrictions on abortion coverage so people can make decisions that are best for themselves and their families, regardless of their income. No one should have to choose between paying rent and getting the aboriton they need. I don’t think it is right to put a person in that position or tell voters that the right to abortion is protected, but only people with money get to exercise that right because the very program meant to serve low-income folks – Medicaid denies health coverage for abortion.
Please, vote YES on S2549 and please, vote NO on S2386, S2625, S2387 and S2626. Closing gaps in access to abortion is good health policy and the right thing to do. Putting up extra barriers or interfering with important medical decisions and delivery of care is not. Thank you.
Contact: Jocelyn Foye, [email protected], 401-400-0061