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Raimondo tells Boston radio listeners that choice advocates need to aim their frustration at the Senate, not the Governor’s office



Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was a guest on Boston Public Radio, WGBH today, being interviewed interviewed by Margery Eagan and Jim Braude. For a few minutes the interview concerned the current battle to codify Roe v Wade into Rhode Island State Law:

“You’re getting some criticism from abortion rights people, so what’s going on with you and abortion down there?” asked Eagan.

“I’ve been very consistent on this,” said Raimondo. “In fact, I began the year with my State of the State address saying that it was time to codify Roe v Wade. Here’s my position – Roe v Wade has been the law of the land for 50 years, in Rhode Island and everywhere.

“I talk to women every day, literally, who are worried. They’re worried, they’re afraid. I think they deserve peace of mind and I’d like to see our legislature just codify the status quo. The status quo that has existed for 50 years. People are worried. We have a different Supreme Court. We have Kavanaugh on the bench. You see what’s happening in Alabama, Louisiana and everywhere.

“So I have said, ‘Pass a law that codifies the status quo.’

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“There has been – I haven’t followed it as closely up here [in Massachusetts] – but in Rhode Island a huge amount of misinformation about what these bills do and don’t do. I’ve tried to keep it simple and say ‘Just maintain what we have and give women the peace of mind that regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court or who’s in the White House, that the law of the land will stay as it is in Rhode Island.'”

“Now some of the advocacy groups,” said Braude, “are criticizing you in a statement, saying, ‘The fact is that either you SPEAK OUT for the right to abortion and be a leader in the efforts to protect our rights or you are standing in the way. We cannot wait any longer. The governor needs to take action to get this done this year.’ I assume you think this is an unfair criticism?”

“I do,” said Raimondo.

“Why are they saying that?” asked Braude.

“Because they’re frustrated,” said Raimondo, “and I can see why they’re frustrated because this has – for your listeners – I came out, first week in January and said that this is the session to get it done. The House then passed a bill, pretty swiftly, and then it kind of bobbled around the Rhode Island Senate for around five months. And it has been a frustrating process. And so those advocates are frustrated.

“But they ought to be frustrated with the Senate and they should focus on the Senate, and see if they can get something done.

“Look it, It’s a very difficult issue. Marjory just said it so well: These are personal issues, it’s about access to health care, and I think there are good, principled people on both sides of the debate and I can understand why they’re frustrated.”

Here are her comments on WGBH:

Here’s Raimondo on the morning of May 14, the day Senator Stephen Archambault (Democrat, District 22, Smithfield, Johnston, North Providence) killed the Reproductive Health Care Act. At the time, Raimondo said she had no knowledge about the imminent demise of the bill and directed all questions about the bill to the Senate.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.