The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (Coalition) calls on the Rhode Island Senate to bring the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) (S0152A) to the floor for a vote, and to pass the bill without amendments.
The Coalition thanks Senate sponsor Gayle Goldin (Democrat, District 3, Providence) and Judiciary Chair and co-sponsor Erin Lynch Prata (Democrat, District 31, Warwick, Cranston) for introducing an amended version of the RHCA to match the Reproductive Privacy Act (H5125A), which passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives, and was heard in the Senate Committee on Judiciary, seven weeks ago.
The Coalition and our partner organizations have been at the State House on every legislative day talking to our Senators and urging them to bring this bill to the floor for a vote. Activists have been out in communities knocking on doors, organizing and holding events, and what we hear over and over is that people want this bill to pass this year.
In response to recent comments about amending S0152A, the Coalition is firm – we oppose any amendments. The RHCA, like the RPA, is already a compromise and is the result of many years of conversation between advocates and elected officials. Any potential amendments are not only likely to chip away at reproductive rights, but we also strongly believe that the House will not consider legislation that is changed from H5125A. Therefore, the only outcome of amending S0152A is that the bill will die and we will all be back at the State House, and in communities across Rhode Island, in January 2020 to start this process once again.
Reproductive rights are under attack throughout the country. President Donald Trump has followed through on his promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will restrict or overturn the right to safe, legal abortion. At the state level, at least eight legislatures have already passed abortion bans in at least one of their legislative chambers, with twelve others introducing similar legislation. The most extreme of these measures would ban abortion as early as six weeks. Opponents of safe, legal abortion have a clear plan – they are passing unconstitutional laws with the express intention of creating a United States Supreme Court case that will challenge Roe v Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions. In fact, there are currently over 13 cases that are one step away from being heard by the Supreme Court, including cases about laws in Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri.
Rhode Islanders do not want to wait any longer for their rights to be protected. The time is now.
The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (RICRF) is a coalition of organizations, working together to share resources, build strategies and coordinate efforts to connect reproductive freedom with social and economic justice. RICRF protects and advances access to reproductive health care through advocacy and legislative action.
American Civil Liberties Union of RI ⋄ American Congress of Obstetricians, RI Chapter ⋄ Catholics for Choice ⋄ The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health ⋄ Hope and Change for Haiti ⋄ Humanists of Rhode Island ⋄ Indivisible RI ⋄ League of Women Voters, RI ⋄ Medical Students for Choice ⋄ National Council of Jewish Women, RI Chapter ⋄ Planned Parenthood of Southern New England ⋄ Rhode Island Working Families Party ⋄ RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence ⋄ RI Democratic Women for Leadership ⋄ RI National Association of Social Workers ⋄ RI National Organization for Women ⋄ RI Religious Coalition for Reproductive Freedom ⋄ The Womxn Project ⋄ Women’s Health and Education Fund ⋄ Women’s Fund of Rhode Island