Today is the primary election in Rhode Island. Matt Brown, a white male, is trying to put Gina Raimondo, who identifies as a woman, out of her job as governor. They’re both Democrats. Restoring white patriarchy is supported, according to Mr. Brown’s site, by Gloria Steinem (“feminist organizer”) because “Matt Brown will be a Governor who will take on the Trump-Pence administration’s anti-woman, anti-choice attacks and fight not just to protect reproductive freedom in Rhode Island,but to expand it.” Also by Kate Michelman, “former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America,” because “Matt Brown is unequivocally dedicated to the rights, health and lives of women…”
“In governor’s race, abortion dispute flares among Democrats” (Providence Journal):
Hoping to unseat Raimondo in the September Democratic primary, Brown released a letter endorsing him and criticizing Raimondo signed by more than 40 reproductive health-care advocates, including Steinem; Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL, and Barbara Roberts, a professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and former staff physician at Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island.
“Alarmingly, Rhode Island’s Democratic Governor has joined the attack on reproductive freedom,” the Brown endorsement letter said. “The Affordable Care Act requires each state exchange to include at least one plan that doesn’t cover abortion. Governor Raimondo forced insurers in Rhode Island to offer nine plans that restricted abortion coverage.”
“Feminism is not about electing one woman, but making life more fair for all women, so it’s important to say that the restrictions she signed deny reproductive choice to thousands of women in Rhode Island,” Gloria Steinem wrote the Journal in an email from her office.
“HealthSource RI offers 18 plans in the individual market, 12 of which cover abortion services and six of which do not except in very limited circumstances,” wrote HealthSource spokeswoman Kyrie Perry in an email about the current breakdown of plans on the exchange. “According to the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2016, 31 states have no plans that cover abortion on their marketplaces. Rhode Island is one of 19 states plus [Washington, D.C.] that offer at least one marketplace plan that includes coverage for abortion.”
Asked to clarify what Brown, if elected, would do differently than Raimondo, Brown campaign spokesman Ron Knox said he would push for legislation to scale back anti-abortion plans to the single plan required by federal law.
(Regardless of whether insurance pays, abortion is currently legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in Rhode Island, the same as in Massachusetts (nytimes), though profits from selling an abortion are lower in Rhode Island due to a less lucrative child support formula.)
Matt Brown’s supporters were out in force last Saturday evening during Water Fire ($15 and 15-minute Uber ride from KSFZ; similar distance from KPVD), which is how I became aware of this seemingly paradoxical situation.
Readers: Will it be fair to call this a victory for women if a white male endorsed by “progressive feminists” usurps the female governor’s place?
[Update: Despite the endorsement of feminists, Mr. Brown failed to prevail over Ms. Raimondo. The woman whom he sought to stuff back under the glass ceiling prevailed 56/34. Spencer Dickinson won only 10 percent of the vote and failed to win the endorsement of feminists despite promising “Women’s Rights: During my recent years in the legislature, I developed a personal approach which helped me to confront a difficult question. As a legislator, I resolved that I would advocate for a policy by which men would defer to a majority of women legislators on matters which pertain to women’s reproductive rights or other related rights. If I am elected Governor, I will take this advocacy one step further. As Governor, I will pledge to promote policies that have a clear majority support of women legislators, and I will veto any law that passes in opposition to a majority of women legislators.”]
- Newsweek piece from 2015 on how “a significant number of babies who were born at 22 weeks, just over five months of gestation, survived after being medically treated in a hospital” (i.e., we demand that insurance companies pay for an abortion at 22 or 23 weeks and we also demand that insurance companies pay out $millions, if necessary, to ensure the survival of a 22- or 23-week baby)