In states throughout the U.S., Roe v. Wade is under the process of death by a thousand cuts. None are more threatening than SCOTUS’s leaked anti-abortion decision two weeks ago.
I am grateful to live in R.I., where the General Assembly passed legislation to protect my right to abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned. However, we need to do more to protect reproductive health care rights for woman across the state. I thank Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos for her Mother’s Day letter and I’d like to join her and many others who are calling on the General Assembly to pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA).
Why? The simple answer is that abortion care is health care and as such needs to be available to whomever needs it. Currently, 77,000 Rhode Islanders of childbearing age, do not have access to abortion through the state Medicaid plan. Nor do 32,000 state workers. The EACA will ensure they do.
The not-as-simple answer is that the EACA will ensure that abortion as health care is accessible to all because providers and facilities will undergo regulatory processes. As a licensed mental health counselor in Rhode Island, I know how important it is for providers to undergo an application and vetting process. There was a time when this was not the case, so mental health care carried with it stigma and the possibility of poor care.
When someone is struggling with mental illness, it is not the time to have to worry about the credentials of their therapist. Now providers have to meet high standards of care and training, so people seeking mental health treatment can be ensured great care by a qualified and licensed professional.
The same must be true for abortion as health care. When someone is faced with an unwanted pregnancy it is a major life decision. This means that it needs to be a personal decision and administered by a provider who has been credentialed and in a facility that is safe and ethical. Just like health care, abortion care must happen without worry of safety or stigma. Just like any other medical procedure.
I’ll say it again: abortion care is health care. As health care, it must be available to anyone who needs it and provided by qualified doctors at safe clinics.
I call on my senator, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to bring the Equality of Abortion Coverage Act to a vote in the General Assembly.
I call on the General Assembly to pass it.
Now is the time to show states across the U.S. that Rhode Island continues to be a leader in human rights and a state where everyone is ensured quality health care.
Passing the Equality of Abortion Coverage Act will be proof that this is so.