Many people think that because of Roe v. Wade, anyone can access reproductive health care, including abortion, any time they need it. But the reality is that thousands of Virginians still lack access to basic reproductive health care services because of discrimination and politicians who don’t trust women to make decisions for themselves and interfere in their personal choices.
That has to change, especially in a time when Roe v. Wade is under threat. That’s why we are fighting to pass the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) in the Commonwealth. Read below for three reasons why this bill is the future of reproductive health care access in Virginia and how it protects all of us, regardless of skin color, income, zip code, immigration status, and gender identity.
No Matter What Happens to the ACA, RHEA Makes Sure Everyone Can Access And Afford Birth Control
Everyone should have the opportunity to choose how and when to start a family, and that means everyone needs access to affordable birth control that works for them. RHEA makes it law that all health insurance plans in Virginia have to cover preventive reproductive health services (like birth control) without imposing co-pays, deductibles, or coinsurance. This is already part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but in October 2017, the Trump Administration reversed the contraceptive coverage mandate and put countless Virginians at risk of losing access to affordable birth control. When we pass RHEA, everyone will be able to get birth control that works for them, regardless of who the president is.
RHEA Specifically Protects Undocumented Immigrants and Gender Non-Conforming People
Access to reproductive health services is vital to a thriving community, and we believe everyone should have access to them. And when we say everyone, we mean everyone. That’s why RHEA has specific provisions that protect gender non-conforming people and undocumented immigrants and ensures that everyone who needs access to reproductive healthcare can get that access.
When people are misgendered, they can have difficulty with their insurance, like being denied necessary transition-related care or having a claim denied for a gendered procedure such as a PAP smear or prostate exam when their gender identity was not aligned with who an insurer expected to need such care. RHEA will prevent that from happening and make sure that transgender people can get the health care they need when they need it, just like everyone else.
Immigrants are working hard to care for their families and give back to our communities. When they are thriving, our communities are thriving. We should support immigrant women and their families, not put up extra roadblocks to their health and wellbeing. Immigrants pay taxes and contribute to our community, and it is a moral obligation to ensure that undocumented people have the same access to vital health services as everyone else. Passing RHEA would make sure that happens.
RHEA Keeps Abortion Safe and Legal
The right to choose whether and when to start a family is under attack. With Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, it is not only possible, but likely that key parts of Roe v. Wade will be struck down, limiting access to abortion. It’s critical that all Virginians have the freedom and dignity to make their own personal and private healthcare decisions, including the fundamental right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or have an abortion. So, RHEA ensures that the right to access to abortion is part of Virginia law.
Anti-family politicians want to take away reproductive choices by restricting insurance coverage for abortion. This jeopardizes Virginians’ health and disproportionately impacts low-income Virginians, immigrants, people of color and their families, and young people by obstructing their access to health care. Regardless of what these extreme politicians think, we all deserve the peace of mind that we can obtain the health care we need, however much money we make or wherever we get our insurance. When we pass RHEA, everyone will have that peace of mind and know that they can get an abortion if and when they need it.
Call Your Representatives and Demand They Pass RHEA Now!
RHEA presents a strong vision for the future of reproductive health care access, and passing it won’t be easy. But with your help, we can make it happen. Join us in calling your representatives and demand they support HB2378 and SB1132 so that every person, regardless of skin color, income, zip code, immigration status, or gender identity, can access the reproductive health care they need and make decisions about how and when to have a family for themselves.