Rhode Island’s legislative session ended last week and we are still celebrating the monumental passage of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act along with Governor McKee’s inclusion of funding in the budget to implement this new law. This session has brought even more victories to celebrate. We are extraordinarily grateful to our champions in the McKee administration and the legislature, our partners in the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, advocates, and our supporters for keeping our state moving forward. This session has truly solidified Rhode Island as a leader in the fight for reproductive freedom for all!
Along with the EACA, this session we passed policies that will:
Guarantee the protections brought forward by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in state law which include maintaining:
- Coverage for the 10 categories of essential health benefits currently protected by the ACA including maternity and newborn care, emergency services, mental health, prescription drugs and more.
- No cost-sharing for preventive services including birth control, pap smears, sexually transmitted infection testing, mammograms and more.
- The current prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, ensuring that coverage cannot be denied or limited by imposing a preexisting condition exclusion.
Expand Access to Reproductive Health Care by:
- Allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control over the counter, providing another option to eliminate a long standing hurdle to access.
- Mandating that insurance covers any additional screenings deemed medically necessary for any person who has received notice of dense breast tissue.
We also once again defeated attempts by anti-abortion politicians who introduced dangerous legislation this session. The true aim of these bills is not based in science or in health care; instead, they are meant to shame and stigmatize doctors who provide abortions and patients who need access to essential, time sensitive, safe and legal abortion care. Legislators pushing these bills have one goal: continuing to attack our rights and freedoms.
Making comprehensive reproductive health care more accessible increases the overall well-being of our communities and gives people greater control over their health and lives. While we celebrate these victories, we know there’s still more progress to be made! We will be back next year to continue building a more equitable and just Rhode Island and advocating to make reproductive health care affordable and accessible to all. Get involved today!