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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 12, 2019
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Statement of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell
WASHINGTON — This week, three important bills to advance human and civil rights were introduced in the U.S. Congress. Yesterday, the EACH Woman Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Barbara Lee and in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Duckworth. The EACH Woman Act would ensure coverage — by private and government insurance — of all pregnancy related health care, including abortion.
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 also was introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Nydia M. Velazquez and Yvette Clarke, yesterday. The Dream and Promise Act would provide permanent protections for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries.
Today, the Equality Act was re-introduced by Rep. Andy Kim. The Equality Act would add LGBTQ people to existing civil rights laws by providing clear and consistent protections nationwide in employment, housing, credit, education and federally funded programs.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda founder, President and CEO Marcela Howell issued the following statement in support of these bills:
“Once again, people of color, particularly women of color, are leading the way to reclaiming our human rights. With the introduction of the EACH Woman Act, which will remove restrictions on health insurance coverage of abortion, the Equality Act, which will add LGBTQ people to existing civil rights law, and the Dream and Promise Act, which would provide permanent protections to Dreamers and other immigrants, legislators and advocates — especially women of color — are breaking down barriers and moving our country forward.
“For too long, access to abortion has depended upon person’s financial means. Rich individuals and those with private insurance plans that include abortion coverage have always been able to get abortion care. But people who depend on the government for their healthcare coverage — including those on Medicaid, in the military, on reservations and federal employees, among others — have not had coverage. For the first time, there is a bill pending in both houses of Congress that would give all individuals who seek abortion care access to their constitutionally guaranteed right to make their own decisions about their bodies.
“Women of color are also leading the way in the struggle for compassionate and just immigration reform. The Dream and Promise Act would finally stop the heartless attacks on Dreamers by affording them and other immigrants permanent protections. While the administration escalates attacks on immigrants with Trump’s draconian budget proposals that would divert money from important safety net programs to fund ‘the wall,’ standard bearers of justice in Congress are demanding common sense reforms that respect the important contributions of immigrants.
“The Equality Act would help ensure that every person is judged on their merits and not their sexual orientation or gender identity. With the administration’s attacks on LGBT people, including the ban on transgender people in the U.S. armed services that takes effect today, our country desperately needs this legislation.
“Women of color and immigrant women are disparately impacted by the administrations attacks on human rights. Black transgender women are at a heightened risk of violence. Immigrant women in detention face sexual assault, separation from their children and inadequate pregnancy care. Black women and other women of color face tremendous hurdles to accessing reproductive healthcare, including abortion and birth control. We need these legislative measures to help knock down barriers.
“In Our Own Voice commends the legislators who introduced these bills and encourages the House and Senate to pass both measures. It’s time to take back our rights and further reproductive justice.”
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls.