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Sexual and reproductive health and rights win in Rhode Island

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This primary election sends an undeniable message—the people of Rhode Island demand champions who will protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and join the fight to advance reproductive freedom.


In Tuesday’s Rhode Island state primary election, voters demonstrated overwhelming support for sexual and reproductive health and rights. The results are in: 16 of the 20 candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island Political Action Committee (PPV!RI PAC) in contested Democratic primaries won their races. PPV!RI PAC-endorsed candidates also won in all four open seat races and four PPV!RI PAC-endorsed challengers also defeated anti-reproductive rights incumbents. 

“It’s clear that sexual and reproductive health and rights are winning issues in Rhode Island,” said Amanda Skinner, President & CEO of PPV!RI and a member of the PPV!RI PAC. “Since 2016, voters have elected candidates who support reproductive rights, bodily autonomy, and access to health care in record numbers. This primary election sends an undeniable message—the people of Rhode Island demand champions who will protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and join the fight to advance reproductive freedom.”

The 2016 and 2018 elections saw a surge of support for reproductive rights in Rhode Island and, as a result, a record number of 42 PPV!RI PAC-endorsed elected officials currently serve in the Rhode Island General Assembly. These champions were crucial in passing the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019 (RPA), codifying the right to safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island state law: 17 PAC-endorsed champions elected since 2016 helped secure the four-vote margin of victory in the Senate and the 16-vote margin of victory in the House.

“A just society honors women’s rights and women’s experiences,” said PPV!RI PAC-endorsed candidate Meghan Kallman, who won her three-way primary for the open Senate District 15 seat in Pawtucket and North Providence with 61% of the vote. “Being a strong proponent of sexual and reproductive health and rights was a cornerstone of my campaign, and being endorsed by PPV!RI PAC was key to my victory. The voters of Rhode Island clearly support champions of reproductive freedom. It’s also clear that, as we elect more women, we are seeing women’s needs and experiences reflected more consistently at the State House. These are all positive trends, as we move towards building a stronger and more inclusive state.”

Leonela Felix, a PPV!RI PAC-endorsed challenger who unseated incumbent Representative Raymond Johnston in Pawtucket’s House District 61, added “Women should have the right to make choices about their lives. Period. I was honored to have the support of the PPV!RI PAC because I know they share my commitment to removing barriers to health care and reproductive freedom for all women and particularly for women of color and women from low-income communities. We can see across our state that voters want to support candidates who will champion the rights of women, including reproductive rights.”


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“State elections are immensely important—last year, PPV!RI PAC-endorsed champions in the General Assembly were instrumental in bringing the RPA to victory, expanding access to contraception, and protecting the rights of Rhode Island’s immigrant communities and residents with disabilities,” Skinner stated. “There’s so much more work to do, and with everything on the line in the 2020 election, we must send these candidates to the State House to continue the progress we’ve made in Rhode Island.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2020 PPV!RI PAC-ENDORSED PRIMARY WINNERS:

Rhode Island Senate:

  • Samuel Bell* (District 5)
  • Tiara Mack (District 6)
  • Meghan Kallman (District 15)
  • Kendra Anderson (District 31)
  • Alana Dimario (District 36)
  • V. Susan Sosnowski* (District 37)

Rhode Island House of Representatives:

  • John Lombardi* (District 8)
  • Brandon Potter (District 16)
  • Joseph McNamara* (District 19)
  • Teresa Ann Tanzi* (District 34)
  • Kathleen Fogarty* (District 35)
  • Leonela Felix (District 61)
  • Brianna Henries (District 64)
  • Michelle McGaw (District 71)
  • Terri Cortvriend* (District 72)
  • Deborah Ruggiero* (District 74)

*indicates incumbent

See the full list of PPV!RI PAC endorsed candidates for the 2020 General Assembly elections.

To learn more about Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island and the Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC, visit ppvotes.org.