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« RWV speaks out while court debates ACA | Main | Speak out against Trump's plans to discriminate »

What can we celebrate this July 4?

Protest is patriotic!

As progressive advocates for women’s and LGBTQ health care, we have often felt under siege for the last 2 ½ years. At the federal level, we have seen the Trump administration roll out one harmful proposal after another to eliminate, interfere with or otherwise curtail our health care. In conservative states, we have witnessed the enactment of harmful abortion laws and adoption of work requirements for Medicaid enrollees that are designed to kick low-income people off coverage when they fail to fulfill bureaucratic requirements.

So, what is there to celebrate about our country on this July 4? Let’s lift up our proud revolutionary tradition of protest to bring about the changes we need!

We all saw the effectiveness of the waves of grassroots protests that stopped Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Congress. There are new examples of powerful protests:

  • The Trump administration has been forced to delay implementation of its egregious religious provider refusal rule from July 22 to November 22 because of a lawsuit filed by the City of San Francisco protesting the likely harmful impact on patients who could be refused reproductive health care and gender-affirming care.
  • In Georgia, the Feminist Women’s Health Center (our RWV regional coordinator in that state) became one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuitchallenging that state’s new law effectively banning abortions after just six week.
  • New York City, meanwhile, appropriated $250,000 to help women from states like Georgia obtain abortions in the Big Apple, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced thatNew York City will turn down federal Title X family planning funds to protest the Trump administration’s harmful restrictions on use of that money.

So, on July 4, embrace our power to protest.

And get ready for some new protests. We need to speak out forcefully against the attempt to overturn the ACA in the courts!
On July 9, there will be arguments in a federal appeals court in New Orleans on the lawsuit, Texas v. the United States. At issue is a lower court judge’s ruling that the entire ACA should dismantled because the Trump tax law eliminated the ACA’s individual mandate – the requirement that individuals have health insurance, or pay a penalty for being uninsured. The lawsuit was brought by 17 Republic Attorneys General, who now are backed by the Trump administration’s Justice Department.

If this lawsuit succeeds, it would mean an end to all the consumer protections the ACA has brought us, including requiring insurers to cover maternity care and provide contraceptive coverage with no co-pays. Also eliminated would be Medicaid expansion and the federal marketplace, along with the premium subsidies that make insurance coverage more affordable. Insurers could once again deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and charge women more than men for the same health insurance policy.

What can we do to protest this threat to all that we have gained from the ACA?While we cannot be there in the courthouse arguing for protection of the ACA, we can all speak out in ways that will help influence the public dialogue about this case and, hopefully, make judges think twice about such a potentially momentous change in our health insurance system. Community Catalyst, one of the national organizations that coordinates Raising Women’s Voices, has developed a toolkit for advocates to use in protesting this lawsuit. It includes sample letters to the editor and op eds you could submit to your local newspapers, as well as a guide for planning a protest event.  The national Protect Our Care coalition is organizing protests on July 9 in a number of states, including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If  you are in one of those states, check in with the lead health care organizing groups to see how you can join in.

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