FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 8, 2021
Activists Denounce State House Attacks on Abortion Access
The Womxn Project calls on lawmakers to oppose bills to ban abortion before most people even know that they are pregnant and legislation pushing lies about providers.
[Providence, RI] – Statement from The Womxn Project on a House Judiciary hearing this Friday, April 9th on a slew of bills that push harmful myths about the provision of abortion and seek to take away all access to care:
“Rhode Island voters have made it very clear that they support the right to abortion and believe we should all be able to make our own decisions about our bodies, planning our families and that we should each control our own futures. This was made resoundingly clear with the huge turnout in support of the Reproductive Privacy Act. Lawmakers should not be wasting time with bills that are so out of touch with the values and the needs of the people in our state and yet today there are SIX BILLS BEING HEARD that would undermine this right.
Instead of respecting every person’s decision, anti-abortion politicians are resorting to false rhetoric to distract from their true agenda — to push abortion care out of reach and punish patients and their providers. There are politicians who do not want abortion to be available at all in any circumstances. They create bills that play on the worst lies to restrict or outright ban abortion.
H5552, H5579, H5037, and H5582 push inflammatory claims about how labor and delivery care and how abortion care is provided. We have seen legislation like this before that meddle with health services and push truly ridiculous rhetoric to demean and denigrate abortion providers and people who seek abortion.
We are extremely concerned by the implication that licensed doctors would ever withhold care from any infant. It is insulting and dangerous to imply that this is happening. Abortion providers are trained and compassionate professionals doing their best to help patients in spite of frequent harassment and even violence.
The House Judiciary Committee will also hear H 5865 and H 5996, which could take away all access to abortion as early as 6-8 weeks. We saw bills like these in Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Ohio last year. We also saw many of these bills struck down in court after costly and protracted court battles.
Let’s be clear – many people do not even know that they are pregnant at 6 or 8 weeks and with the significant systemic barriers that women of color, low-income women and young women face in getting access to health services, it is that much harder for people living on the margins to get into a clinic to confirm a pregnancy and talk through your options. That means attacks like this one fall hardest on people who are already struggling with health disparities.
This whole slew of bills are just more political game playing on the backs of women when we are still in a pandemic, families are struggling to make ends meet and afford health care and the people of our state have made it abundantly clear that they want individuals to decide if they need to seek an abortion. Abortion is healthcare. We should be working to eliminate barriers to the full range of services people need – not put up more obstacles.
We should be ensuring that if someone wants to and is able to add to their family that they have access to doulas and we can ensure healthy pregnancies and address the maternal mortality crisis. We should improve access to sex education and ensure affordable availability of contraception to reduce the number of people facing unintended pregnancies. And we must ensure that when someone needs or wants an abortion that they can get on without judgment or barriers. We need lawmakers to support the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (H5787/S267) – not more bills to deny the ability to manage our health and control our own futures.
We need to trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies and about when they become a parent or add to their families. This is not something the government should meddle with. It is NOT our place to judge someone who needs an abortion or to push bills to try to make it more difficult to get care. These bills are offensive, dangerous and out of touch with Rhode Island values of personal decision and reproductive freedom.”
The Womxn Project is proud to continue to build a movement to protect reproductive health, rights and justice. We are available for interview upon request.