My name is Jocelyn Foye. I am a mother, an artist, an advocate and the director of 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 here testifying in very strong opposition to H7306, 7307, 7405. Each of these bills differ slightly, but what they share are the use of the term “born alive” to make inflammatory claims about abortion care and imply that doctors or health professionals who provide abortions 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. This bill is meant to disparage them and to lay the groundwork to take away all access to abortion and we know who that harms most – people who are pushed to the margins who are already struggling to obtain affordable, quality health services.
Instead of respecting every person’s decision, this bill resorts to false rhetoric to distract from the true agenda — to push abortion care out of reach and punish patients and their providers. There are some 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. These bills unnecessarily place politicians between a woman and her doctor. Numerous health care organizations, representing thousands of clinicians, oppose these bills including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have strongly opposed bills that place lawmakers in the position of interfering with reproductive healthcare, including abortion.
Attempts to take away access to health care or to denigrate health providers are not helping anyone. I am writing to strongly oppose this bill and call it what it is – another political game being played on the backs of women and families in Rhode Island. If we really cared about the lives or health of women and families in our state, there are so many policies that would truly help, including H7454, which would help provide private insurance coverage for healthy pregnancies and H7443, which increases Medicaid coverage eligibility for pregnant people to close gaps in access to care for low-income Rhode Islanders.
Proponents of this bill will talk about life and health and what is right. To me it seems that supporting people who are ready to be parents or add to their family to have the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy is a positive and effective way forward, not yet another bill trying to take away access to abortion. We can do more to support women and families and ensure people can raise their children in safe and healthy communities and have the resources and support to care for their families. These bills do not do any of that. I am urging you to vote no on H7306, 7307, 7405 and instead use your time to solving the very real challenges facing families in our state. Let’s push for positive change instead of more political agendas. Thank you.
Contact: Jocelyn Foye (or 401-400-0061)