“As a Republican, I believe in the values of individual autonomy and freedom. The rhetoric from leaders of the Rhode Island Republican Party, including Chairman Brandon Bell and former Governor Donald Carcieri, is unacceptable.”

“I am announcing today that I proudly support the amended version of Chairwoman Anastasia WilliamsReproductive Privacy Act (H 5125 Sub A),” writes Representative John Lyle Jr (Republican, District 46, Lincoln). “This vital legislation achieves an important yet modest goal – preserving the current legal framework protecting the right to safe, legal abortion as it exists today under Roe vs. Wade, subsequent Supreme Court decisions, and Rhode Island law.

“As a Republican, I believe in the values of individual autonomy and freedom. The rhetoric from leaders of the Rhode Island Republican Party, including Chairman Brandon Bell and former Governor Donald Carcieri, is unacceptable.1 Building on the false assertions of organizations opposed to safe, legal abortion, too many of my fellow Republicans are making empty claims that these bills go beyond the current parameters of safe, legal abortion in a cynical attempt to manipulate public opinion through fear-mongering and dishonesty.

“As a legislator, my duty is to fight for the well-being of my constituents. I do not want Rhode Island to turn back the clock to a time when abortions were performed illegally, in unlicensed facilities, and behind closed doors. Keeping abortion legal means keeping it safe. This bill ensures that abortion remains safe because it remains legal, subject to the Department of Health regulating authority and professional licensing standards.

“I am proud to stand with the 38 State Representatives who have cosponsored the Reproductive Privacy Act or the Reproductive Health Care Act. I thank Chairwoman William and Representative Edie Ajello for the tireless dedication to protecting a woman’s right to control her own body. I urge my fellow Republicans to join the 71 percent of Rhode Islanders who support passing a law to keep abortion legal and safe.”

Statement of support from Craig O’Connor, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island:

“Planned Parenthood proudly stands behind Representative Jack Lyle, who embodies the best Republican tradition supporting individual freedom. Like John Chafee, Claudine Schneider, Lila Sapinsley, Susan Farmer and other honored Rhode Island Republicans. Representative Lyle is committed to respecting the dignity and agency of women to choose their own path in life.”

  1. Here’s the Rhode Island Republican Party press release:

    The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee, appointed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, is poised to support legislation, which, among other things; (1) will allow for late-term abortions for “health” reasons; (2) repeals a law which makes it a crime to kill an unborn children when a crime is committed against the mother; and (3) will allow cities and towns to cover abortions in the health insurance plans they provide for their employees.

    Chairman Brandon S Bell commented: “A very sad day is approaching for Rhode Islanders, a majority of whom do not support abortion after the first trimester. Late term abortions for vague health reasons will now be legal under state law. Unborn children will lose a possible legal protection if their mother is a victim of a crime. Taxpayers could now be paying for the abortions of local government employees.”

    Bell continued: “This is just the latest example of why Rhode Island is no place for children. When children grow up, they need to move out of state to find a job because Rhode Island has such a bad tax climate. As children are growing up, they attend poor performing public schools. If a child needs government help, they are handed over to a dysfunctional DCYF where they may be neglected. Passing this law makes it less likely they will even be born here.”

    Bell concluded: “This terrible legislation is passing because certain powerful State House politicians care more about power for themselves than life of the unborn. They are enablers; enablers of the worst kind. They know this legislation is wrong but they are allowing it to happen because of their desire for personal power. To quote Matthew 16:26: ‘What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?’”

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Barry Schiller

Nice to know such Republicans still exist! I supported most of the Republicans of an earlier era mentioned, they were also very pro-environment, indeed Jack Lyle in the 1980s when he was a State Senator was a strong proponent of container deposit legislation (“bottle bill”) incentivizing reuse or recycling beverage containers. That idea was approved by a very large majority of voters in numerous towns in non-binding referenda, but was defeated by the Democratic legislature more beholden to the throw-away beverage container industry evidently indifferent to litter and conservation, than the voters. With voters having no right to initiate referenda in RI (how some other states got bottle bills) there was no recourse so RI is still an outlier in our region. (Maybe Rep Lyle can work on getting RI voters the right to “voter initiative!”) Further, the “litter tax” the Assembly put in (a small add-on per case of… Read more »