Members of the Senate Education and Health Committee voted to send Senator Mamie Locke’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, SB917, to a workgroup for further study by a vote of 14-0. This will allow legislators to bring in experts and stakeholders to study how people in our community will be impacted by the bill. We’re thrilled that legislators have taken the first step towards ensuring the Reproductive Health Equity Act becomes law, and we will continue to watch as it moves through the legislative process.
Kat Lopez would benefit if the bill becomes law. “In the summer of 2019, a series of medical exams determined that I had a 27cm tumor that grew from my left ovary. Before the surgery began, my family told me that my surgery was going to cost $110,000. Thankfully my insurance was able to pay the majority of the cost as it would have been impossible for my family to cover it all,” Lopez, an activist with the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health-Virginia, said. “I am grateful that I had insurance during that difficult time, but I know firsthand that it is not the same for many Virginians. I believe that healthcare is a human right for all and not a privilege for some. I cannot wait to see this become a reality for all Virginians with the help of the
Reproductive Health Equity Act.”
“We’re thrilled that the Reproductive Health Equity Act has been referred to a workgroup for study. We all want to live in a Commonwealth where every family is strong and healthy and everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of race, income level, zip code, immigration status, or gender identity. But right now, thousands of our friends and neighbors are struggling to access the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion care and birth control, because of barriers thrown up by anti-reproductive health politicians,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “By referring the bill to a workgroup for further study, legislators will be able to more deeply engage with the bill and have the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders about how the Reproductive Health Equity Act will impact people in our community.”
“The Reproductive Health Equity Act will make it possible for every Virginian to decide whether and when to become a parent based on what’s best for their family, instead of whether they can afford care,” said Margie Del Castillo, Director of Field and Advocacy with the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health – Virginia. “This bill takes us closer towards advancing our vision of health, dignity, and justice for all in the Commonwealth. No exceptions. We applaud the Senate Education and Health Committee for referring it to a workgroup and see this as a step toward attaining reproductive justice for all Virginians.”
“Every Virginian regardless of income, immigration status, gender identity, or type of insurance, should have the ability to determine if, when, how and with whom to start or grow a family,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Due to barriers put in place by anti-abortion politicians, right now, countless Virginians are unable to access the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion care and birth control. The Reproductive Health Equity Act would help lift those barriers and ensure that everyone can make decisions that are best for themselves and their families and we applaud the Senate Education and Health Committee for referring this bill to a workgroup for further review in order to explore how this bill will benefit Virginians.”
The Reproductive Health Equity Act would establish comprehensive insurance coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including family planning, abortion care, and postpartum care, for all Virginians, regardless of income, immigration status, gender identity, or type of insurance.
Access to affordable birth control is at risk.
- In October 2017, the Trump administration reversed the contraceptive coverage mandate of the ACA, putting countless Virginians at risk of losing access to affordable birth control.
- A survey found that more than a third of female voters (34%) have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used birth control inconsistently.
- This isn’t surprising considering co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month. That adds up to over $600 per year. Other methods, such as IUDs, can cost several hundred dollars, even with health insurance.
Transgender people have a difficult time accessing compassionate, gender-affirming health care that takes into accound their unique needs and situations.
- In 2015, 25% of transgender people experienced a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender, such as being denied coverage for routine health care because they are transgender.
Undocumented immigrants have a difficult time getting health insurance coverage and therefore are less likely to get the health care they need when they need it.
- Among the total nonelderly population, 45% of undocumented immigrants were uninsured compared to about one in four (23%) documented immigrants and less than one in ten citizens (8%) as of 2017.