Date: January 28, 2019
Dear Chairman Craven, and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
My name is ((resident of)). I live in South Kingstown. My State Representative is Teresa Tanzi.
I writing in support of House Bill 5127 — The Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA), and in opposition of bills 5125, 5114, 5198, and 5199.
I support The Reproductive Health Care Act because there was once a fourteen year old girl, who after being taken to an uninhabited island in the bay, was raped by a man twice her age who she thought was a friend. That girl told no one, and threw herself against a sharp cornered table, over and over for days, until bruises appeared on her abdomen and she felt sick. She didn’t want to be pregnant. She carried on.
Five years later, at nineteen, she decided it was time she could engage in sexual activity with a college classmate with whom she fell in love. They got tested for AIDS, then got birth control, and after some time of dating, became pregnant. They were a birth control ‘fail rate’. After weeks of careful consideration, prayer, consultation with trusted family members and doctors, she decided terminating the pregnancy was best. Her boyfriend agreed. He was cheating. It was a difficult decision, and one of relief. The clinic was clean, and she was safe. She carried on and graduated summa cum laude.
Twenty years later, and that woman was married to a good man, and they planned to expand their family. She had a miscarriage around 8 weeks. “Not meant to be. Not a viable embryo” the doctor said. But she wondered: she had eaten the wrong thing before she knew. Maybe “Lysteria” had hurt the maybe-baby? Who would know? Not even the doctors. No doctor could pinpoint the actual date of conception. She carried on.
That woman, at 40, tried again, and had a wonderful baby, then another miscarriage, then another wonderful baby. And that woman is nothing special — just a regular Rhode Islander— who lives privately, keeping her medical business to herself.
That is, until now. Because this woman sees a threat looming on the horizon. The threat that some government members may make rules so that “maybe-babies” can ruin real lives, create criminals of doctors, steal privacy, and degrade all our daughters’ futures.
The threat that the idea that ‘maybe-hood’ would be calculated as more important than personhood. That the mystery, messiness, and miracle of reproduction that occurs within a woman’s body, would be used to make her body her government’s domain.
At one time, her bodily autonomy and privacy was codified, but it is now at risk. So this woman wants her state to acknowledge the threat to her personhood: to protect the status quo of Roe v Wade via RHCA. To take that stand.
This woman also notices that the threat contains— at its core — legal precedent so ‘maybe-hood’ can be defined and stewarded by government. Making rules that legally imply that if a woman does something imperfect and miscarries, she could become suspect of criminality. Who’s to say? Could it be the government wants to say? Or could the government instead say something that protects citizen’s safety, privacy and liberty?
This woman sees that the threat to Roe v. Wade could take away her access to safe and private medical care, all at once. Maybe this is because some don’t believe in smart, thoughtful women like her. Or trust her. Or trust in nature. Maybe some, also don’t trust RI, a place founded for protection of individual freedoms.
With this threat, maybe a woman a with late-carry health issue would have to prove her need and innocence, and apply for the right to get a D&C to prevent her sepsis and death? Maybe she would have trouble finding a doctor to help her if she were raped? Maybe she would have to go overseas or across state lines to get appropriate medical care? Maybe she should have lots of extra money just because she’s a woman… ? What if she doesn’t?
Or maybe that woman— this woman— and thousands of other regular women, can just throw themselves against tables if they are afraid or can’t find a doctor. Or worse.
Please stand for personhood, please stand for liberty, please stand for privacy. Please pass RCHA this session.
Thank you for reading this.
A South Kingstown Resident
A South Kingstown Resident
NOTE: I would also like to specifically express my opposition to the alternative bill — H5125 The Reproductive Privacy Act — as this bill does not maintain the standards that exist now. If Roe v. Wade is to be overturned, H5125 doesn’t adequately protect Rhode Islanders’ access to safe, legal abortion. I urge you to work with the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to amend this bill to mirror the RHCA. If that happens — I would gladly support either bill. But until then — I urge you to bring H5127 – The Reproductive Health Care Act to the House floor with a recommendation of passage.