Senators Dawn Euer and Bridget Valverde took a very quick trip to Washington, D.C., this morning to participate in a White House event for state legislators on state actions on reproductive rights.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the White House convened more than 80 state legislators from 41 states over two days to highlight state-level attacks on reproductive rights, as well as state efforts to safeguard access to reproductive health care.
Senators Valverde and Euer were invited to this morning’s part of the event for their efforts to protect reproductive rights in Rhode Island. Senator Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, South Kingstown) was the sponsor of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (2023-S 0032, 2023-H 5006), enacted last month, which eliminated state laws that prohibited coverage for abortion for Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid and state employees. Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) cosponsored the bill and, as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, managed its hearings and vote before that committee.
The event, which was attended by Vice President Kamala Harris, featured a panel discussion on bills passed in several states to protect providers and patients, including interstate shield protections, provider licensing and measures to address anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers.” A second panel discussion focused on bills that have advanced in states to repeal restrictions, protect patient privacy and increase funding and training for reproductive health care providers.
A final breakout discussion encouraged participating legislators to discuss what’s next in the effort to expand access to reproductive health care, including ways to push pending measures that have not advanced, and other steps that should be taken by state legislators.
“We are proud to share with other state legislators from around the country our experiences protecting reproductive rights here in Rhode Island, including the years-long effort to secure abortion coverage for Rhode Island Medicaid enrollees and state employees. In an era where reproductive rights have been set back half a century in so many parts of America, we take hope in sharing the work that is being done to protect them,” said Senator Valverde.
Said Senator Euer, “It’s heartening the Biden-Harris administration is using its executive powers to the extent possible to protect reproductive rights, and supporting those us who are working at the state level all over the country. Bringing state leaders together to strategize will help all of us in our efforts to pass the legislation we need to protect reproductive freedom.”
Due to the timing of the event on the morning of what is expected to be the busy last day of the legislative session in Rhode Island, the trip to Washington was a very quick one for the senators, who were in session at the State House until just after 10 p.m. last night. They flew to Washington early this morning just in time for the 8:30 a.m. event. They are scheduled to return to Rhode Island this afternoon in time for today’s legislative session.
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