On Tuesday April 10 the RI House of Representatives committee on Judiciary will hold legislative hearings on the Reproductive Health Care Act and other proposed bills that impact access to safe and legal abortion.
It is deeply painful and regretful to need to re-justify the need and the right for reproductive freedoms in the United Sates in 2018.
Nonethless, we do so, because the relentless onslaught of laws and policies, from the federal to the local level, meant to impede, disincentivize, and generally shame women who, under Roe vs. Wade, are intended to have the right to determine their own reproductive process.
The Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) seeks only to remove the egregious language which would, in the case of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, revert Rhode Island to an almost outright banning of most reproductive freedoms. The RHCA bills are not gaining new ground if this legislation is passed, but simply ensuring that the status quo of these basic rights remain accessible.
This legislation is the bare minimum that Rhode Island requires to remain anything other than politically hostile to women of childbirth age. While the legislation focuses, appropriately, on retaining individual freedoms combined with strong science, we must also consider basic human rights.
This is an important milestone for the RHCA. We need as many supporters as possible to be at the statehouse, to testify, submit written testimony, or to be present to show the committee how much support there is for this bill in RI and it that needs to be voted on. There is strength in numbers. Will you join us in support of this bill?
The following information has been shared with TWP from many organizations for you to learn more and be more educated. This could help you with writing testimony too!
We will be adding to it throughout the weekend.
- The Center for Reproductive Rights shared some material from their toolkit for the Whole Woman’s Health Act for us to use, and below they adjusted a few talking points from there specifically for RI:
- The Reproductive Healthcare Act would put into state law the right to have an abortion in Rhode Island, ensuring that women in the state do not have to worry about the threat of federal protections changing.
- Since 1973, when abortion was firmly established as legal and was accessible and covered by Medicaid, the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion. From the decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, reaffirmed in the 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, through 2016’s landmark decision, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt the Supreme Court has consistently held that a woman who has decided to have an abortion must have the right to access one.
- However, the right to abortion is under attack. Since 2011, politicians have quietly passed over 400 restrictions designed to block access to reproductive health care across the country. It’s not enough for Rhode Islanders to rest easy because our state isn’t actively trying to restrict access. The current Administration is putting our existing rights at risk every day. And if the make-up of the Supreme Court changes under this administration, it is likely there will be another staunch anti-choice Justice endangering future Supreme Court decisions on abortion. It is time to codify our right to reproductive healthcare into our own state law. We should not rest on the hope that the federal government will not try to take us backwards – especially when we know it is taking steps to do so. Women need access to affordable, high quality health care, including abortion. Delaware and Oregon codified the right to an abortion in their state laws last session. (You can find more info here: https://www.
reproductiverights.org/sites/ crr.civicactions.net/files/ documents/1711-USPA-SotS- 171219.pdf) It’s time for Rhode Island to do the same.Download Linked Document
2. If you cannot attend the hearing, you can submit written testimony to the Committee Clerk for the Judiciary [email protected]
3. Meeting with Senior Counselor, Farah Diaz-Tello on Monday, April 9th from 1-2pm. It will be a live video conference call and recorded afterward. If you are interested in asking questions, getting advice on speaking, strategies for speaking, etc. please join us. Sign up here to receive a link for the recording and conference call 30 minutes before the call.
4. On Tuesday April 3 the “Rhode Island Religious Coalition for Reproductive Freedom” held a press conference at the state house. Here is a link to article in the Providence Journal. http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20180403/advocates-support-ri-push-to-ensure-abortion-rights
5. Phone banking is going on around the State. Ever done that before? If not, it is easy and more fun to do in the company of others. Planned Parenthood is organizing a lot of these but we too have organized one at the University of Rhode Island.
Monday, April 9th
Come support the RHCA at the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Rhode Island.
Please bring your laptop and a phone.
19 Upper College Road
Kingston, RI 02881
6. Buses to the State House: From South County there will be RIPTA buses leaving the URI campus with a lot of fellow activists. Join us now! https://www.facebook.com/events/2261163547443897/
7. A summary of Trump Administration actions against reproductive health care.
This may be helpful in speaking to the urgency of RI taking action.
Link to document