June 30, 2022
Governor Daniel McKee
Office of the Governor
82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903
Dear Governor McKee,
With the shocking decision from the United States Supreme Court to ignore 50 years of precedent by overturning Roe v. Wade, the time is now to enact every policy possible to protect and expand access to care, including halting state bans on health coverage and making sure people can safely obtain abortions in Rhode Island even if they are from another state.
We, the undersigned, are asking you to take concrete action. In this moment, more than ever it is not enough to say we protect the right if we do not ensure access and make sure that people who need care can get it whether they live here or not.
- BUDGET: Policies that deny health coverage for abortion cause harm and take away the right for low-income people.
- Will you publicly commit to submitting a budget for FY 2024 that includes insurance benefits for abortion for state employees and people who use Medicaid?
- Will you urge the General Assembly to come back for a special session to get this important work done and pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act?
- EXECUTIVE ACTIONS: We have the opportunity to send a clear message that Rhode Island will continue to be a safe haven for anyone seeking abortion care and cannot abandon people in other states or the people who support folks in finding care they need.Will you put out an executive order to ensure that people can get care no matter where they are from and support people in obtaining abortion in our state without being criminalized?
- Rhode Island must prohibit any executive department, agency, law enforcement official or public hospital employee from assisting another state’s investigations as it relates to abortion.
- Rhode Island should prohibit arrest based on civil detainer from another state solely for charges related to abortion.
- No personal information should be shared by hospitals, health professionals or law enforcement for the purposes of another state’s criminal investigation or civil lawsuit based on providing, seeking or support in obtaining abortion care.
- We must protect Rhode Island providers who deliver abortion services from losing their professional licenses as the result of an out-of-state charge.
- We should also allow anyone who is targeted by civil lawsuits from other states based on their laws for receiving, performing or providing support for abortions to countersue for damages and other costs.
- Rhode Island should make it clear that we will not extradite someone for providing or supporting access to abortion. We should not participate in the criminalization of someone who did something in Rhode Island that leads to a crime in another state if what they did is legal in Rhode Island and abortion is legal in our state – and will remain so!
- HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE: In order to meet the greatly expanded need in this time, we should follow public health standards and best practices by making it clear that (Physician Assistant) PAs, (Nurse Professionals) NPs, and (Certified Nurse Midwives) CNMs are capable and qualified to provide abortion care services.
- Will you direct the health department and other agencies to look into ways to expand provision of abortion, including allowing for additional health professionals to provide both abortion pills and be trained to provide abortion procedures?
- We have the opportunity to make sure that the people of our state are able to get abortions when they need them as a matter of rights, health and dignity, but more than that we have the obligation to step into this moment and ensure that our state is a place where people can turn. This is an opportunity to live up to our state motto of “HOPE” by providing hope and care. We thank you for your consideration and urge you to take swift action.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG – Rhode Island)
College Democrats at Roger Williams University
Haus of Codec
LBGTQ Action RI
Party for Socialism & Liberation (Rhode Island)
Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus
Rhode Island Queer PAC
South County Huddle
SURJ-RI (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
The Womxn Project
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County, Social Justice Team
Women’s Fund of Rhode Island
Youth Pride, Inc.