February 25, 2020
Good evening, Chairman Craven and Members of the Judiciary Committee. My name is Cori Garland. I am a Rhode Islander, an out-of-state attorney, a volunteer organizer for The Womxn Project, and a Board Member for Rhode Island’s abortion fund, the Women’s Health and Education Fund. I am here in strong opposition to Resolution H7355.
Resolution H7355 declares “the existence of a fetal heartbeat or flutter” at “about the eighteenth through the twenty-fourth day of fetal development . . . is evidence of the existence of human life.” This language declaring human life existing at 18 to 24 days gestation has one purpose – to lay the foundation to ban abortion in the State of Rhode Island. It mirrors the language of the unconstitutional abortion bans that were passed in in several states in 2019. The purpose of those laws is to make abortion illegal by prohibiting the procedure after a few weeks of gestation, when most individuals are not even aware that they are pregnant.
The question of when life begins is one we must each answer for ourselves based on our own beliefs. It is not a place the government should interfere.
Rhode Islanders do not support abortion bans. In fact, Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support abortion rights and access. Just last term, the General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act. In doing so, the House issued its policy statement on abortion rights and access in Rhode Island and it mirrors the beliefs of your constituents—Rhode Island protects the right to abortion. Please continue propagating that message.
I urge you to oppose this Resolution. We should be eliminating barriers to the care Rhode Islanders need to manage our health and plan our families and futures – not create more and certainly not rollback the rights we worked so hard to protect.
Cori K. Garland