Saying Thank You
It has been 46 years since Justice Blackmun wrote for the majority of Supreme Court justices in Roe v. Wade, which acknowledged a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy. And, for 46 years, the anti-choice movement has tried to take that right away. In a time of unprecedented attacks on women’s reproductive rights, we have seen almost a dozen states pass anti-abortion laws this year alone. At the same time, however, three states have taken significant steps to not only protect the right to choose, but to also expand upon it.
Maine In June, Governor Mills signed LD 820, An Act To Prevent Discrimination in Public and Private Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women in Maine. This legislation expands abortion coverage under private health insurance plans by requiring that all plans that are regulated by the state, provide coverage for abortions. Once implemented, LD 820 will also require that women covered by Medicaid have access to abortion care.
Illinois On June 12th, Governor Pritzker signed SB25, the Reproductive Health Act. In doing so, state regulated health insurances plans in Illinois will be required to provide abortion coverage. Additionally, Illinois, along with NY, is one of only a few states that prohibit patient cost-sharing (which includes deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance) for abortion care. By providing this coverage, women will be able to access the reproductive care to which they are entitled.
New York In January, Governor Cuomo signed S 240, the Reproductive Health Act which allows medical professionals, other than doctors, to perform abortions. The bill also provides for an abortion at greater than 24 weeks when the woman’s life or health is in danger, or the fetus is not viable.
New York City also became the first city to include money for an abortion fund in its annual budget. The city will pay $250,000 in to a non-profit abortion fund to be used to assist not only NY residents but also women who travel from other states seeking abortion care. The fund will provide abortion care to approximately 500 women.
One of the greatest barriers to abortion care is money. The legislation passed in these three states will make that hurdle easier to get beyond for all women, including those who are hardest hit by anti-abortion legislation: women with lower income, women with disabilities, and women of color.
It is no longer enough to voice support for a woman’s right to choose; the time for words alone is gone. What is needed is action. What is needed is legislation that puts a women’s rights before politics. Maine, Illinois, and New York are putting their money where their mouth is by enacting legislation that respects a woman’s right to choose, which enables her to exercise control over her own body.
What you can do
It is vital to our democracy to be able to communicate with our elected officials. And, in recent years, that communication has been more negative than positive. But saying “thank you” is equally as important when our representatives have taken steps to not only protect our rights but to expand our ability to exercise them.
If you live in Maine, Illinois, or New York, send Governor to Resistbot and take a few minutes to say thank you to Governors Mills, Pritzker, and Cuomo for the work they do on our behalf.