Rhode Islanders all over the state are currently being denied abortion access through their health insurance coverage. As women are being denied the right to bodily autonomy and access to safe abortions, dissatisfaction is growing nationwide.
The attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade has made a significant impact around the country. This method of family planning is becoming out of reach every day and strays further and further from our reach as time progresses.
It is the responsibility of Governor Daniel McKee to reverse these restrictions placed on abortion providers in order to provide safe and fair access to all women throughout the state. All Rhode Island based healthcare providers must already abide by a variety of state and federal regulations that govern health, safety, building rules, fire codes and zoning requirements. The additional and unnecessary restrictions placed on abortion providers is clearly biased against the act and makes it near impossible to occur.
The Reproductive Privacy Act passed in 2019 granted Rhode Island the ability to provide abortion access in a safe and respective manner. While this act assured the legality of abortion, it never promised access to care.
The implementation of policy, or lack thereof, can be counteracted with the passing of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA). This means that if someone is in need of an abortion they will not be denied care based on their healthcare provider.
Access to healthcare is difficult to obtain as it is and state programs such as Medicaid, have purposely placed restrictions on their plans in order for their customers to forcibly be denied access to such services.
Over a quarter of Rhode Islanders are covered by Medicaid, including 77,000 women of childbearing age. Medicaid aids impoverished Americans, those with disability and current and past foster children. They are entitled to the same level of health care, including abortion. We have created an unfair system by prohibiting Medicaid recipients from the Reproductive Privacy Act's protections.
The dangers of banning access to abortion stems far beyond having an “unwanted” child. Women will likely seek an abortion elsewhere in an unhealthy manner, which puts their life at risk. Over 68,000 women have died due to complications from an unsafely administered abortion. Of those who survive, over five million will suffer from long term and detrimental health complications.
The financial burden of a child is one of the main reasons as to why many women choose to terminate their pregnancies. The continuation of a pregnancy due to restricted abortion access could lead the woman to have to pay expenses which she does not have the means to, such as doctors bills, prenatal care, prescriptions, etc.
One in four women has an abortion before the age of fourty. Not only is this a difficult decision to make, but abortions additionally have lasting impacts on the lives of women who recieve them. Abortions are a traumatic experience that can change someones life forever. Women who receive abortions are more likely to be diagnosed with major depressive dissorder among other anxiety dissorders after the procedure.
In order to fight for the rights of equality for women, we must speak up and fight for their rights. It is hopeful that Governor Daniel McKee will proceed to end the abortion ban within the state, and if he doesn’t there will be backlash from people of all genders. Not only in Rhode Island, but throughout the country as well.