Update |

Two Bills That Make Health Care More Accessible – Advocacy Day Recap

What a roller coaster the last few weeks have been, with many highs and lows. A high? Avoiding a government shutdown. A low? The House of Representatives is in disarray. But I’m not really here to dive into a recap of all that drama (we’ll leave that for another day), but instead, I want to share with you what our network of physicians has been up to.

On September 20, 2023, over 20 physicians participated in Physicians for Reproductive Health’s fourth virtual Lobby Day, meeting with various congressional offices and House caucuses, including the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus. Our physicians advocated for the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act and the Abortion Justice Act, two bills that would provide easier pathways to access essential health care and ensure our communities get the care they need. Our doctors sent the message that abortion is health care, and we need to get these bills passed to bring us one step closer to achieving health equity.

Let’s get in the weeds here a little bit – what would these bills actually do?

The HEAL for Immigrant Families Act is a bill that would ensure immigrants and their families can access the care they need by removing restrictive barriers that currently prevent them from obtaining health coverage. When people are denied access to health coverage, they are forced to pay for health care costs out of their own pockets or must forego care altogether. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many immigrant communities, young people, and people struggling to make ends meet. We need the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act to ensure health care coverage is available for everyone, regardless of immigration status!

PRH Staff and Physicians meeting with Senator Gillibrand’s office on Advocacy Day.

Our physicians also advocated for the Abortion Justice Act (AJA). This proactive, vision bill was introduced this past June to build towards a world where everyone can get the abortion care they need, when they need it, free from barriers or restrictions. Among other things, the AJA would ensure federal funding for abortion training, provide insurance coverage for abortion care, and protect health care providers and patients from being criminalized for seeking and providing abortion care. We need Congress to pass the Abortion Justice Act as this legislation would lift the multitude of barriers that prevent Black, indigenous, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, and disabled folks from obtaining the care they need.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, accessing abortions has become tremendously complicated. Policymakers are attacking access to abortion care more than ever, and some are pushing to enact a nationwide abortion ban, which would be detrimental to everyone attempting to access reproductive and family planning services but especially to young people, ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants, people who are disabled, and the LBGTQ+ community.

As we continue to navigate in a post-Dobbs world, we need everyone to be in this fight to ensure people can get the care they need, including abortion care, when they need it. Our physician network cannot do this alone. Contact your representatives and tell them to cosponsor and support the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act and the Abortion Justice Act.

Thank you all for your support,

Taryn Graves
Policy Assistant