Statement from the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom:
Today, a new abortion ban goes into effect in Texas (S.B. 8). This is one of the most radical, intrusive, and horrifying abortion bans in the country; not only will it ban abortion at six weeks – before most people even know they’re pregnant – but it encourages people, even total strangers, to sue their neighbors for helping someone get an abortion in violation of this cruel law. Not only does this law restrict access to essential sexual and reproductive health care, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for overriding civil liberties, constitutional rights, and reproductive freedom.
The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom supports the people of Texas and anyone exercising their constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion. A threat to reproductive freedom anywhere is a threat everywhere – this past year, we have watched states across the country pass an alarming number of increasingly restrictive abortion bans in a blatant attempt to dismantle Roe v. Wade. A patient’s health, not a politician’s beliefs — and certainly not the beliefs of complete strangers — should drive personal health care decisions.
It might be easy to look at laws like S.B. 8 in Texas — or Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, set to appear in front of the U.S. Supreme Court — and imagine these are other states’ problems. But we have work to do here in Rhode Island. Although the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019 protected the right to abortion, state laws prevent more than 300,000 Rhode Island residents enrolled in Medicaid and state employees from using their health insurance to cover abortion. We know cost is a significant barrier to access, and the right to abortion is meaningless without access to care; that’s why we must pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act next legislative session to eliminate these harmful bans and add abortion coverage to our state’s Medicaid program to help ensure everyone can access the essential health care they need.
Patients in Rhode Island can’t wait – we must act now to protect and advance reproductive freedom in our state.
Quote from Nicole Jellinek, Chair, Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom:
“The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom knows the power of collective action to advance reproductive freedom. We join together to support anyone, anywhere who exercises their fundamental freedom in seeking access to safe, legal abortion. This Texas abortion ban is a wake-up call for Rhode Island: we must eliminate barriers to care that exist in our state laws today – the importance of passing the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act cannot be overstated.”
Quote from Gretchen Raffa, Senior Director of Public Policy, Advocacy, and Organizing, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island:
“This is a full-scale assault on patients, health care providers, and our fundamental rights. Your abortion is no one’s business but your own – politics has no place in a person’s health care decisions. These bans don’t curb the need for abortion care, but they make it much more difficult, costly, and dangerous to obtain one. We must do everything we can to protect and defend access to essential sexual and reproductive health care – let’s pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to help ensure Rhode Islanders can afford to exercise their right to abortion.”
Quote from Kelly Nevins, CEO, The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island:
“Central to the mission of the Women's Fund of Rhode Island is achieving gender equity by defending access to sexual and reproductive health care for all people. We know that, here in Rhode Island, our state laws create disparities in access to abortion. It is up to us to keep up the fight to ensure everyone, regardless of their identity, income, or employer, can control their own body, their own fertility, and their decision if and when to become pregnant.”
Quote from Steven Brown, Executive Director, ACLU of Rhode Island:
“The ACLU has joined with many other advocates for reproductive freedom to challenge in court S.B. 8 and its unprecedented and frightening effort to deputize private citizens to enforce an abortion ban. The threat to civil liberties is clear: some politicians are prepared to let complete strangers interfere with a person’s right to an abortion. S.B. 8 is a wake-up call alerting us that, together with our partners, we must continue to demand reproductive freedom for all in Rhode Island by enacting the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to ensure everyone can access the care they need.”