(Providence, RI) — In an incredible victory for Planned Parenthood supporters in Rhode Island, across the country, and everyone who believes in sexual and reproductive health for all, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won this historic election.
“As we celebrate today, we are beginning a new chapter: one where we take full control of our bodies, our rights, our democracy, and our futures. Our fight to protect and expand health care for the people of Rhode Island and across the country continues on,” said Amanda Skinner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPV!RI). “Our voices were loud and clear — we elected a new president who is fully committed to protecting access to sexual and reproductive health care, including access to abortion. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have been steadfast champions for reproductive rights and health care. We are grateful to see these leaders elected to the two highest offices in this country.
“For so many, today is filled with relief,” added Skinner. “Relief that the horror and relentless attacks of the Trump-Pence administration will end. We’re ready to begin healing as we work alongside our partners and our champions to build a more equitable future for all people. This election, voters spoke out — here in Rhode Island, we elected a record-breaking number of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC-endorsed champions to the General Assembly to continue the progress we’ve made in advancing reproductive freedom for all.”
The majority of the country sent an undeniable message in this election, demanding equity, justice, and access to essential health care, including sexual and reproductive care. Voters made Donald Trump a one-term president, making him the first incumbent president to be defeated in nearly three decades.
Americans were clear about where they stood even before this election: nearly nine in 10 women in this country will use birth control in their lifetimes, 77% of Americans don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and a majority of young people — across political parties — support federal funding for abortions even though it is currently prohibited by the Hyde Amendment.
Last year, elected officials in Rhode Island listened to the will of the people and passed the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019 to protect the right to safe, legal abortion in state law. But there’s so much more to do — working with our champions and our partners, we must eliminate laws that prevent people enrolled in Medicaid and state employees from using their health insurance to cover abortion; expand access to health care through telehealth; provide coverage for doula care; and codify the essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island state law.
There’s a lot to get done in our country, including repair from the harmful policies and rhetoric of the Trump-Pence administration. Upon taking office, the Biden-Harris administration must end the Title X domestic gag rule so that health care providers and patients can speak freely about all reproductive health care options; propose a budget that reflects a commitment to sexual and reproductive health — including ending the Hyde and Helms amendments; nominate reproductive health champions to executive branch positions and judicial seats; and more. A coalition of bold, progressive organizations developed “First Priorities for the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” a detailed list of executive and agency actions that we expect the Biden administration to get to work on immediately.
Beyond reproductive health, the new administration will have work to do across all policy areas. We need to truly protect people against the health and economic consequences of COVID-19 with comprehensive relief. We need to truly reckon with systemic racism, injustice, and state-sanctioned violence in this country; our new leaders have a mandate to take serious, action-oriented steps that move our society towards equity — in health care and beyond. We need comprehensive and robust democracy reform to restore the Voting Rights Act, grant Washington, D.C. statehood, and more. The list is long, but Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island will be there to hold this administration accountable for its promises to the American people every step of the way.