Senate Judiciary takes up Reproductive Health Care Act

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee took up the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA(S2163/H7340) on Thursday, a bill that would codify the protections of Roe v Wade into Rhode Island State Law. The bill was sponsored by Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat, District 3, Providence). The committee also took up several bills that seek to further restrict abortion rights in the state. None of the bills advanced out of the committee.

Advocates for and against reproductive rights, including abortion, lined up to testify, but the hearing was decidedly lopsided. Only five members of the public spoke in opposition to abortion rights, 24 spoke in favor. Barth Bracy (video 04 below), executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life, said that most of his people were attending a fundraiser and couldn’t be at the State House to testify.

Given that Senate an House leadership have long said they are uninterested in advancing the RHCA, Rhode Island Right to Life and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence probably felt very confident phoning in their testimony. The diocese sent no one to testify.

Recognizing that the General Assembly is not moving on the RHCA, Craig O’Connor of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island issued the following statement:

“The four Democrats who control the Rhode Island General Assembly, all men, refuse to protect reproductive freedom, including access to safe, legal abortion.

“All four Democrats have been endorsed by anti-choice organizations at some point in their political careers. President Dominick Ruggerio, Speaker Nicholas Matteillo and especially Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey have all signed on to legislation over the years that would restrict abortion rights or stigmatize reproductive health care providers and patients.

“Today, their silence and refusal to act place them closer to Donald Trump than to the platform of the Democratic Party that they lead. We encourage Rhode Island voters to remember this as they vote in the primaries and general election this fall.

“Planned Parenthood Votes! RI applauds Governor Gina Raimondo for publicly endorsing the Reproductive Health Care of 2018.

“We thank Representative Edie Ajello and Senator Gayle Goldin for introducing the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2018, and we are proud of the 28 Representatives and 11 Senators who signed on to the legislation and are standing with women against the patriarchal assault on reproductive rights by the Trump Administration.

“We congratulate the RI Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus for endorsing the Reproductive Health Care Act and leading the fight for reproductive freedom in the Democratic Party and in the state.”

Here’s all the video, feel free to email me names I missed or misspelled:

Senator Erin Lynch Prata (Democrat, District 31, Warwick, Cranston), who chairs the committee, laid down the rules for the evening:

Senator Gayle Goldin supports the RHCA:

Senator Louis DiPalma (Democrat, District 12, Little Compton, Middletown) introduces his anti-choice bills:

Barth Bracy of Rhode Island Right to Life, opposes the RHCA:

Dr Merima Ruhonita supports the RHCA:

Attorney Lynette Labinger supports the RHCA:

Senator Susan Sosnowski (Democrat, District 37, Block Island, South Kingstown)

Mary Ann Sorrentino, is the former head of Planned Parenthood Rhode Island and supports the RHCA:

Senator Donna Nesselbush (Democrat, District 15, Pawtucket) supports the RHCA:

Judi Zimmer supports the RHCA:

Dr Yuwam Ghieie supports the RHCA:

Kara Russo is opposed to the RHCA:

Joseph Franchina is opposed to the RHCA:

Nancy St Germain of Rhode Island NOW supports the RHCA:

Mary Chase, of the League of Women Voters, supports the RHCA:

 Diane Barrons supports the RHCA:

Senator Cynthia Armour Coyne (Democrat, District 32, Barrington) supports the RHCA:

Caroline Morgan supports the RHCA:

Reverend David Helfer supports the RHCA:

Tia Beckman supports the RHCA:

Jocelyn Foye of The Woman Project supports the RHCA:

Jordan Hevenor of The Woman Project supports the RHCA:

Senator Jeanine Calkin (Democrat, District 30, Warwick) supports the RHCA:

Sulina Mohanty, chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus supports the RHCA:

Mikaila Arthur supports the RHCA:

Jennifer Rourke supports the RHCA:

Rachel Jarosz supports the RHCA:

Melanie DuPont supports the RHCA:

opposes the RHCA:

Nate Carpenter supports the RHCA:

Democratic candidate for Governor of Rhode Island Matt Brown supports the RHCA:

supports the RHCA:

Capri Catanzaro supports the RHCA:

Ange Strom-Weber supports the RHCA:

Caroline Dooley opposes the RHCA:

Senator Joshua Miller (Democrat, District 28, Cranston) supports the RHCA:


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About Steve Ahlquist 575 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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