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Eleven male state reps call for passage of Reproductive Health Care Act



“We are proud cosponsors of the Reproductive Health Care Act,” said Representative Jason Knight (Democrat, District 67, Barrington, Warren). “We, as men, stand behind women and acknowledge that they should have complete control of their bodies and their own medical decisions. It is urgent for the Rhode Island General Assembly to act now.”

Knight was speaking on behalf of a group of male Rhode Island state representatives in response to the Trump Administration’s persistent attack on women’s reproductive freedom.

“We believe that elected officials in Rhode Island must listen to the thousands of voices that are calling on us to act now to protect this fundamental individual right,” added Representative Jean Philippe Barros (Democrat, District 59, Pawtucket). “We must preserve the freedoms women currently have before those rights are taken away. The Reproductive Health Care preserves the status quo; proactively protecting Rhode Island residents by ensuring any changes on this essential issue are made by Rhode Islanders themselves.”

Representatives Knight and Barros were joined by Representatives Robert Craven (Democrat, District 32, North Kingstown), Arthur Handy (Democrat, District 18, Cranston), Aaron Regunberg (Democrat, District 4, Providence), Joseph Almeida (Democrat, District 12, Providence), Jeremiah O’Grady (Democrat, District 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket), David Bennett (Democrat, District 20, Warwick, Cranston), Michael Morin (Democrat, District 49, Woonsocket), Evan Shanley (Democrat, District 24, Warwick), and Christopher Blazejewski (Democrat, District 2, Providence).

“This act is about more than simply removing unconstitutional laws from our books,” said Regunberg. “This act declares, once and for all, that the choice to have or not have children belongs to the woman and that nobody can interfere with that choice.”

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“We also call on our colleagues to pass legislation protecting and expanding access to affordable, comprehensive contraception,” said Bennett.

Representative Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence) has introduced legislation (H7625) that would preserve the Affordable Care Act’s statement that contraception is a preventive health care measure and thus not subject to patient cost-sharing. The bill would allow up to a full year of prescribing and dispensing of contraception and cover over-the-counter contraception when prescribed by a licensed medical provider.

“We have seen the strength and perseverance that so many women have endured through the recent #metoo movement and we stand in solidarity with them,” concluded Knight. “Our support of this legislation and our belief that true equality can be achieved by protecting reproductive freedom is unwavering, and we call on our colleagues in the General Assembly to join us in our support and to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act.”

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.