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.
Emma Gauthier | Volunteer Lobbyist
The Womxn Project
My name is Jocelyn Foye and I am writing/speaking 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. We are also leading the Campaign for Equal Abortion Coverage, 42 organizations strong.
Reproductive Justice and freedom demand that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families, and futures as well as we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
I am here to strongly support H5006. I applaud Representative Kazarian along with the 42 other House members who introduced and are sponsoring the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act this year.
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. H5047 and H5228 imply that doctors or health professionals who provide abortions would ever withhold care from an infant.
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.
I am proud we have protected the right to abortion in our state in 2019 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. Let’s be clear. The EACA is not an “abortion” bill, it is a health equity bill.
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, for example, 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.
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.
As a state we have worked to expand access to care to help with healthy pregnancies. That is so important. Now we need to consider our most vulnerable Rhode Islanders. We need to ensure the full range of options are available to everyone equally.
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 abortion 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 H5006 and please, vote NO on H5047 and H5228. 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