Just last week – we can hardly believe it has only been one week – hundreds of supporters were at the State House for hours providing testimony in support of the Reproductive Health Care Act (H 5127) and pushing back on the weaker version (H 5125) to ensure that we push through truly strong protections to the right to abortion this year.
So what has happened since?
Well the opposition has been very loud and truly unbelievable claims about what the bill does and does not do.
Here are the facts:
- The RHCA codifies the protections of the Roe v. Wade decision into Rhode Island statute.
- It removes laws on that are currently on Rhode Island books that are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
- It does NOT as the opposition claims permit a woman to seek an abortion at any stage in pregnancy for any reason. This is simply not true and they know it.
- The RHCA allows a pregnant person the legal right to obtain an abortion up to fetal viability. The definition of fetal viability in the RHCA is identical to current federal law established through Roe v. Wade.*
- After viability, access to services would be limited to cases where a woman’s life or health was at risk. This is the law as it stands today and the RHCA does not change that.
- This bill is thoughtful and well-crafted. It is simply about protecting the right to abortion – plain and simple.
The RHCA language and facts are the same for the Senate version (S 152).
There is also a lot of confusion about an alternative bill has been introduced (H 5125). This bill, the Reproductive Privacy Act, as currently written does not have the same strong protections for the right to abortion and it does not remove all of the same unconstitutional laws from the books, which could be very problematic if Roe were to be overturned.
Want to learn more about the two bills, what this all means and how to get more involved? The Womxn Project is collaborating with the Center for Reproductive Rights on a tele town hall on Sunday, February 10th from 8-9pm. Register today to save your spot.
So what now?
Listen, we know a majority of voters want to see the RHCA pass, but we MUST continue to make that very clear.
We need you to keep speaking out and taking action with us – there are so many ways you can help!
1) POSTCARDING PROGRAM: A simple thing you can do is to help with postcards. You get a list of 50 folks and simply spend a half an hour or so doing handwritten postcards to engage activists on this bill. We provide the list and all the supplies. Just fill out this short form: http://bit.ly/RHCApostcards and we will get you all you need.
2) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Submitting a letter to a local paper is a great way to make your voice heard and show your support. We can share a toolkit to help you out. Contact Morgan from TWP and she can send you all the info you need to speak out in your local paper(s).
3) HOUSE PARTY: You can also host a house party. We will work with you to get a lawmaker or a speaker. You get folks to join you for some snacks and we all take action together (make a few calls, fill out postcards). It is fun and makes a difference! Interested? Great. Just contact one of our co-directors, Jocelyn or Jordan and we will help you make it happen.
There are so many ways to help. You can make a donation to help us keep up the fight. You can make calls from home or share your support on social media using #Repro4RI. Whatever you can do, please do it. The time is now. Rhode Island women have waited long enough. Let’s get it done!
*Definition in H 5127: “Fetal viability” means that stage of gestation where the attending physician, taking into account the particular facts of the case, has determined that there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside of the womb with or without artificial support.