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We are extraordinarily grateful to the Rhode Island Senate and House leadership and our legislative champions for demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding both health care providers and patients who rely on transgender and reproductive health services. We look forward to Governor Dan McKee signing the bills into law.

Health Care Provider Shield Act (S2262 and H7577)

  • Legal Protection for Providers: This act protects health care providers who provide transgender health care services and reproductive health care services in Rhode Island from civil or criminal actions by other states or individuals outside Rhode Island. This is particularly crucial in an era where states across the country have enacted restrictive laws or total bans targeting these services.

  • Access and Interference: The act explicitly prevents anyone from interfering with someone’s access to transgender health care and reproductive health care in Rhode Island, ensuring that all people can receive care they need and deserve without fear of legal repercussions or harassment.

Impact on Health Care Providers: By shielding providers from out-of-state legal actions, this bill protects Rhode Island providers so they can continue to offer high-quality comprehensive, evidence-based care without fear of being sued or threatened with prosecution by people in other states. This is essential for maintaining a robust health care system that can meet the diverse needs of everyone in Rhode Island .

Impact on Patients: For patients, especially those who need transgender and reproductive health services, this bill protects their access to care and reinforces Rhode Island's commitment to protecting reproductive rights and ensuring that people can receive care in a safe and supportive environment.

Health care providers and advocates pose together on the state house steps

Additional Legislation

We are also proud to have supported these additional bills designed to advance equity and justice, led by our coalition and community partners:

  • Making Legal Name Changes Easier (S2667 and H8155). This bill simplifies legal name changes, making the process gender-inclusive, waiving court costs for those unable to pay, eliminating the public notice requirement, and allowing confidentiality for safety reasons.

  • Bolstering Gun Violence Prevention (S2202 and H7373). This bill requires safe storage of firearms, provides civil and criminal penalties for violations, adds rifles and shotguns to the types of firearms requiring a trigger lock to be included with purchase, and requires firearms dealers to post signs regarding safe storage.

  • Codifying the ACA’s prohibition of annual and lifetime limits (S2382 and H7091). This bill repeals the authority of the Rhode Island health insurance commissioner to enforce any act of Congress or decision from a federal court that invalidates or repeals the prohibition of annual lifetime limits on health insurance in Rhode Island.

  • Making PrEP more accessible (S2255 and H7625). This bill eliminates prior authorization for prescriptions for any HIV prevention drug and prohibits the requirement of any copayment or deductible to obtain prescriptions that are covered by a person’s contract, plan, or policy.

  • Paid Leave Expansion (S2121 and H7171). This bill increases temporary caregiver insurance from six to eight weeks over two years and will double the weekly allowance for caregivers for each dependent under 18 years old from $10 to $20.

As we celebrate these victories, we know there’s still more progress to be made. Unfortunately, one of our priorities, the no-copay birth control bill (S2088 and H7255), did not make it across the finish line again this year.  This legislation would have updated our state contraceptive mandate to include comprehensive coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and related services by health insurance contracts without cost sharing for patients. With the national threats to birth control access and the Affordable Care Act, it is essential that Rhode Island updates our state laws to ensure continued coverage of important health care benefits like contraception. 

We will be back next year working on this and other priorities to build a more equitable and just Rhode Island and advocating to make reproductive health care affordable and accessible to all. Thank you to the many advocates who showed up, spoke out, shared your stories, signed petitions, and contacted your legislators — your action made a big difference in advancing our legislative priorities this year! 

Tags: Abortion, legislation, abortion access

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