Testimony from Jocelyn Foye, executive director of The Womxn Project, in support of the Budget Equity bill (H6110) to be heard in the House Finance Committee
The Womxn Project is a 501c4 and works toward reproductive justice and freedom in Rhode Island. The movement we stand behind is based on creating a culture that embraces the human dignity of all people living in Rhode Island and beyond, but a focus on the state.
As an organization, we strongly support a bill which supports the Governor to include, with the annually proposed budget, a statement addressing the ways the budget’s provisions advance equity in Rhode Island. The annual state budget is the single most important piece of legislation considered by the General Assembly; it includes newly proposed policies, existing policies, programs, and budget expenditures.
This bill would also be an opportunity for the Governor to highlight provisions that will increase equity in the state. Specifically to issues we advocate around most, health justice and equality to all Rhode Islanders.
In 2019, The Womxn Project was instrumental in ensuring the passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA), which codified the right to abortion in Rhode Island. In order to get this bill passed, however, two key groups were left out: those who rely on the state’s Medicaid program and state employees and their dependents. Had the Budget Equity bill been law in 2019, the unfairness of the RPA would have been addressed and its disproportionate impact on people of low income and people of color could have been eliminated.
I passionately believe that the Rhode Island legislature should consider the impact of every bill on the lives of people living within our borders. Rhode Island must join the nine other states, including Connecticut, in our country that address fairness, kindness, and human dignity in their legislative process, and be a model for other states to do the same. I urge you to put into law the Budget Equity bill to create a more dignified Rhode Island.
Jocelyn Foye, [email protected], 401-400-0061