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Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
Public Hearing Testimony Guide and Template

The Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA)
H 5006 / S 32 (AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT — HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN — EQUALITY IN ABORTION COVERAGE) will add coverage of abortion care to the state Medicaid program, repeal bans on abortion coverage for state employees and people enrolled in Medicaid, and help ensure equitable abortion access for all.

House Judiciary Public Hearing
DATE: Monday, March 6, 2023 TIME: 2:00 PM PLACE: Room 35 - State House

Template Testimony:
NOTE: your testimony should not be more than 2 minutes long and/or 1 page if you’re testifying in person. Focus on YOUR story or why abortion access personally impacts you, your family, your community, etc.

You can email written testimony to [email protected] with the subject line: Testimony in support for H 5006

Testimony must include: Your name, bill number and viewpoint (for/against/neither).

For verbal testimony, you may testify in person. Sign-up sheets are available outside the hearing room. After you sign up on the sheet, they will call your name when it is your turn to speak at the podium. Signs/posters/pictures are not allowed to be displayed inside the hearing room.

PLEASE: replace the italics with YOUR OWN WRITING, personal stories matter!

Dear Chair Craven and members of the House Committee on Judiciary:

My name is [Insert Your Name Here], I am from [city or town]. I am [mention your organization or group affiliation, or other appropriate and relevant information].

I am testifying in support of House Bill 5006 (Rep Kazarian). This bill will expand abortion access in Rhode Island by adding abortion coverage to our state’s Medicaid program and eliminating bans on abortion coverage for state employees and their dependents. Without insurance coverage for abortion, many people can’t access abortion care — even though the right is protected in state law. Passing the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA) will ensure people can make the health care decisions that are best for them about their bodies and their lives without political interference.

Explain why this issue is important to you.

  • What is your personal connection to the issue?
  • Have you had to pay out of pocket for abortion care because your insurance didn’t cover it? How has that impacted you?
  • How would this bill help you, your family, your community? Talk about what it would mean to you and Rhode Islanders to have health care coverage that covered abortion-care.

Use the talking points below to explain why legislators should support the bill and what the bill seeks to accomplish. Please make sure to write comments in your own words in paragraph form - it’s the personal touches that make the testimony more compelling! For more info on the bill, visit here.

Equality in Abortion Coverage Act Talking Points:

  • In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court stole our federal constitutional right to abortion. Overnight, millions of people lost their most fundamental freedoms as politicians and judges across the country moved to eliminate access to abortion care and ban abortion outright.
  • Abortion is still legal in Rhode Island — yet, state laws prohibit 1 in 3 Rhode Islanders from using their health insurance to cover abortion.
  • These bans on insurance coverage impact nearly 80,000 enrolled in Medicaid and 6,500 people on the state employees plan of reproductive age in our state.
  • Abortion bans, including the ban on insurance coverage, disproportionately harm people who face the greatest barriers to health care due to this country’s legacy of systemic racism and discrimination, including Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people with low incomes, people living in rural areas, and LGBTQ+ people, specifically trans and nonbinary people.
  • We need to trust our family members, our neighbors, and our friends to make the decisions that are best for them about their bodies and their lives.
  • We are in the majority. According to recent polling conducted by the national firm Impact Research: Two-thirds of Rhode Island voters support passing the EACA.
  • 72% of voters believe that patients enrolled in Medicaid should have the same coverage for abortion as people with private insurance.
  • 7 in 10 voters believe abortion should be legal in most cases, including 62% of Independents and 57% of Catholics.
  • There is broad support for passing EACA across demographics including race, age, and gender.
  • By passing the EACA, Rhode Island will join 16 other states — including neighbors Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine — that cover abortion in their Medicaid programs.

Abortion is health care and health care is a human right. Every person deserves the ability to make personal medical decisions that affect their bodies, their health, and their lives.

I, along with two-thirds of Rhode Island voters, support passing the EACA. With the fall of Roe v. Wade last year, the role of the states in protecting abortion access has become even more critical. This is an urgent moment and we need our leaders to act. I urge this committee and the General Assembly to vote yes on H 5006 and act now to further protect and expand abortion access in our state.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this critical legislation,
Your Name

Tags: Abortion, legislation, Rhode Island, policy