FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2021
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]

With the impending fall of Roe v. Wade, which will cause a damaging ripple effect in accessing care, the time is now to enact every policy possible to protect and expand access to care

NEW YORK – With more than over a dozen national reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is urging the Rhode Island legislature to pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA), which would include insurance coverage for abortion in the state Medicaid program and associated plans and include coverage in the insurance plan used by state employees.

Passing the EACA is fundamental to ensuring that all Rhode Islanders, particularly people of color and low-income people, have true and meaningful access to abortion care. Numerous Rhode Island-based organizations, including The Womxn Project and SISTA Fire, have been pushing for EACA’s passage.

“All Rhode Islanders should have access to abortion care, regardless of income or insurance status. Coverage bans on abortion care are discriminatory and dangerous,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and its Action Fund. “Especially in this incredibly urgent moment, elected representatives should always be serving the needs of their constituents, which includes ensuring meaningful access to abortion care. We are proud to be pushing for the passage of EACA in concert with our friends at SISTA Fire and The Womxn Project.”

Ditra Edwards, Co-founder and Director for SISTA Fire, said this: “Our fight for reproductive justice is a fight for the right to parent or not. SISTA Fire continues to fight for bodily autonomy, access to abortions, and our collective liberation until we have won.”

Jocelyn Foye, Director of The Womxn Project, said this: “Right now, there are policies on the books in Rhode Island that take away health coverage for abortion for people who use Medicaid and state employees. It pushes care out of reach for many people in our state. It takes away the right to abortion that we worked so hard to protect. I don’t want to live in a community where the money you have in the bank determines if you get to have an abortion when you need one. No matter what kind of insurance you use, you should get to control our body and plan your family and future.”

In 2019, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, which was essential for protecting abortion rights in Rhode Island, but did not ensure access to care.

Other national organizations calling for the passage of EACA: National Health Law Program, All* Above All Action Fund, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, National Abortion Federation, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Reproductive Health Access Project, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Institute for Reproductive Health, American Atheists, Center for Reproductive Rights, State Innovation Exchange, Catholics for Choice, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Read the multi-organizational sign-on letter here.

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The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups to protect and advance access to reproductive healthcare. For more than 40 years, NIRH has been partnering with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change. NIRH’s strategy is to go on the offensive and focus on communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart