What is our union’s response to the Supreme Court decision on June 24, 2022, overturning Roe v. Wade?
You can read our union’s statement here: Rutgers AAUP-AFT Supports the Right to Abortion. Our union has proposed a contract demand for Rutgers to provide coverage, without regard to gender or sexual orientation, for elective and non-elective procedures involving comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services, including contraceptives, abortion services (procedural and pharmaceutical), and gender-affirming care at no additional cost to unit members or their dependents. This would apply to in-network and, if needed, out-of-network coverage for out-of-state members of our bargaining unit, at no additional cost.
I have health insurance through the university. Does Rutgers health insurance cover abortion and related procedures like reproductive health care?
Members of our union have insurance either through the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) or the United Healthcare Student insurance plan, which also covers undergraduates. Both plans provide coverage for abortion and contraception, with certain limitations or conditions. For more details about your specific policy, contact your plan provider.
The State of New Jersey has enacted legislation on this issue, which you can read about in this press release: Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Protect Reproductive Health Care Providers and Out-of-State Residents Seeking Reproductive Services in New Jersey.
Is there coverage for gender-affirming care?
Yes, the state of New Jersey has specific insurance guidance on transgender health care that was passed into law in 2017. Your plan should provide this type of coverage, but individual plans and their insurance codes may differ, so contact your plan provider for more information. The legislation covers trans health care, abortion, gender-transitioning services, fertility treatment, and other procedures.
In short, this legislation prohibits health insurers and health maintenance organizations—as well as health benefits plans or contracts that are issued or purchased pursuant to the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program, New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program, State Health Benefits Program, School Employees’ Health Benefits Program, and the Medicaid Program—from discriminating in the provision of coverage on the basis of gender identity or expression.
This law also prohibits contracts between certain health care providers who provide health care services to the state’s inmate population, such as University Correctional Health Care, and the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the Juvenile Justice Commission, the State Parole Board, or any other state or local entity from discriminating in the provision of coverage on the basis of gender identity or expression. More details about Bill A4568 can be found on the New Jersey Legislature website.
Students can find resources for gender-affirming care in the student health centers here: Gender-Affirming Care.
The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities at Rutgers also has a list of local resources, including education, advocacy, and emergency resources, here: Trans@ RU.
What about contraception, conception support, and pregnancy care coverage?
Both the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the United Healthcare Student insurance plan cover contraception medication.
Conception care, including fertility treatments, are covered by both New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the United Healthcare Student insurance plan.
Medically assisted conception (IUI and IVF) is covered by the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to varied degrees, and we are working on ensuring equity in coverage for fertility support, regardless of partnered status, gender, or sexuality.
Where do I go if I need an abortion?
- Clinics and abortion funds by state: New Jersey | New York | Pennsylvania | Maryland
- I Need An A: A search finder website based on your zip code.
- How do I find the clinic that’s right for me? – National Network of Abortion Funds: This is a great guide on what to look for in an abortion provider. One critical note from this guide is to avoid “crisis pregnancy centers,” as they are clinics that do not perform abortions.
- All-Options Talkline (or call 888-493-0092): This is a national toll-free hotline to talk through various options.
- Guide to Abortion Privacy – Digital Defense Fund: This website provides a guide on how to keep yourself digitally safe as you search for abortions.
- For medical abortion options: Plan C | Aid Access | Carafem | Lilith Care
Where can I donate to support organizations doing reproductive justice work?
- Donate to your local abortion fund by state here: Funds By State.
- The National Network of Abortion Funds has a crisis-relief fund that helps people get abortions: Donate to National Network of Abortion Funds – Abortion Funds Crisis Relief.
How can I support inclusive reproductive justice work?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some tips that we found useful:
- What is reproductive justice? Our member Dr. Nikol Alexander-Floyd breaks it down here. A longer reading guide on the history of the reproductive justice language and movement is also here.
- Framing abortion access as a “women’s-only issue” does not illustrate the full scope of the impact of the Supreme Court decision. There are specific barriers for trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary folks for accessing reproductive services. Our union’s work around reproductive justice is a fight inclusive of trans, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary people.
- Coat hanger imagery and language are outdated at this point. We are “not going back,” as so much has changed since 1973. People have built many safe ways and networks of accessing abortion, and we are looking to support those.
- Use inclusive language. The loss of access to abortions affects people differently based on their race, economic background, gender, and various other factors. Do not use phrases such as “underground railroad” (racial co-opting) or “Handmaid’s Tale imagery” (does not center intersectional reproductive justice).
- Do not use red, especially red handprints over mouths. This imagery has a long history of being used by indigenous women on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). To connect to an inclusive international fight for reproductive justice, use the color green.
- Reach out to your friends and family and invite them into the reproductive justice movement. Nothing is as powerful as those one-on-one conversations!
- If you want to keep reading and learning, here is a guide: How to Show Up for Abortion Access.
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