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Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.

In today’s Quickie: Nebraska legislators to vote on combined gender-affirming care and abortion ban this afternoon, Rhode Island approves a historic expansion of abortion coverage, advocates challenge two new anti-abortion laws in Montana, and our weekly state fights recap.

TODAY AT 3 PM ET: NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE TO HOLD FINAL VOTE ON GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE AND ABORTION BAN: Today, the Nebraska legislature will hold its third and final vote on LB 574, a gender-affirming care ban for trans youth with an amendment that would ban abortion after twelve weeks of pregnancy. After a successful cloture vote earlier this week allowing the abortion ban to be added as an amendment to the gender-affirming care ban, legislators have fast-tracked their plan to decimate health care access in Nebraska.  If the ban passes, Nebraska would become the 20th state to have eliminated all or some abortions. 

Read more at The Associated Press.

RHODE ISLAND APPROVES HISTORIC ABORTION COVERAGE EXPANSION: Yesterday, Rhode Island lawmakers approved the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA), eliminating a discriminatory ban on public funding for abortion and ensuring that the nearly 90,000 reproductive-aged Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid or state employee insurance plans have access to abortion coverage. Rhode Island joins 16 other states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, that have added abortion coverage to their state Medicaid plans. 

"Today, we celebrate a hard-earned victory in safeguarding reproductive rights and upholding the fundamental human right to health care in Rhode Island," said Amanda Skinner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island. "We are here today because of the dedication of so many legislative champions, advocates, and Rhode Islanders who have worked tirelessly to ensure that all individuals can make their own medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, without political interference and without facing financial barriers. We are savoring this win and looking ahead to the next horizon for advancing reproductive freedom for all."

Medicaid restrictions, including the federal Hyde Amendment, have an outsized impact on Black and Latino people, who are more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid because of disparities caused by systemic racism and discrimination. Without insurance coverage, people seeking abortion must pay out-of-pocket for care — a substantial barrier, especially for people who have low incomes. 

Read more at the Boston Globe

ADVOCATES CHALLENGE TWO NEW LAWS IN MONTANA: Yesterday, Montana abortion advocates filed an amended complaint in state court challenging HB 862 and HB 544, two new anti-abortion laws. HB 862, like the federal Hyde Amendment, would prohibit the use of public funds for abortion care in almost all cases, while HB 544 is almost identical to a recent health department rule limiting abortion access for Medicaid patients. Both bills were signed into law earlier this week by Gov. Greg Gianforte and take effect on July 1. Without judicial relief, both HB 862 and HB 544 will significantly limit abortion access for Montanans with low incomes. The amended complaint was filed by All Families Healthcare, Blue Mountain Clinic, and Planned Parenthood of Montana.

Joint statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU of Montana on behalf of All Families Healthcare, Blue Mountain Clinic, and Planned Parenthood of Montana:  

“Once again, Montana’s elected officials have proven they will stop at nothing to take away people’s health care and control their personal medical decisions — including by targeting the most marginalized populations…. All Montanans, regardless of their insurance status or circumstances, deserve vital, timely, and potentially life-saving care. We will not stop fighting for all Montanans and will continue to challenge politicians' gross infringements on our rights and personal freedom. The ability to make decisions about one’s body, life, and future should remain in the hands of Montanans and their families — not the State.” 

Read more here.

STATE FIGHTS ROUND UP: Rhode Island is the latest state to enact a proactive measure supporting abortion rights. 

Proactive efforts

  • Yesterday, in a historic victory for reproductive freedom, Rhode Island lawmakers approved the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA). EACA will eliminate a discriminatory ban on public funding for abortion and ensure that the nearly 90,000 reproductive-aged Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid or state employee insurance plans have access to abortion coverage. EACA was immediately signed into law by Gov. McKee.
  • The Louisiana House passed HB 117, a bill that would require schools to provide free menstrual products. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Defensive efforts

  • Earlier this week, the North Carolina Legislature voted to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of a 12-week abortion ban. Several restrictions in the law, including the ban, will take effect on July 1.
  • Today the Nebraska Legislature is set to hold a third and final vote on LB 574, a bill banning abortion after 12 weeks and banning most gender-affirming care for those under 19. 
  • The South Carolina House passed Senate Bill 474 this week during a special session called specifically to ban abortion. HB 474 is a bill banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. The House passed an amended version of the Senate bill, so it must now return to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate is due to return on May 23.
  • The New Hampshire House held debate on SB 272, a bill attacking LGBTQ+ students under the guise of so-called “parents rights.”
  • This week, surrounded by anti-trans activists, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a package of bills attacking LGBTQ people. The “Slate of Hate" includes a law targeting gender-affirming care for minors and adults (SB 254), a measure expanding the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law (HB 1069, an anti-transgender bathroom bill (HB 1521), and a law threatening public drag shows and Pride festivals (SB 1438).
  • Texas lawmakers approved SB 14, a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

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