My name is Tammy Brown. I am on the board of directors for The Womxn Project. The Womxn Project is a statewide organization focused on leveraging the power of art, activism, advocacy and education to advance the principles of reproductive justice, which demands that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families and futures and that we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
I am submitting testimony in very strong opposition to H 5865 and H 5996, which could take away all access to abortion as early as 6-8 weeks. 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.
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.
These bills dabble into questions of when life begins, a profoundly personal decision we must each make for ourselves based on our beliefs and our traditions. People of different religious traditions, as well as people within the same religion, hold varying views on this matter. We should not allow lawmakers to impose their own beliefs on others to take away access to a healthcare procedure.
This feels like 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 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.
Rhode Islanders want to see us protect personal decisions and access to safe, medical care, not put up more barriers. They want to see us close gaps in the ability to afford the services we need. They do not want a bill like this that denies personal decision and bodily autonomy. We urge you to vote no on this harmful legislation. Thank you.
Contact: Tammy Brown (401-400-0061 or [email protected])