Bills being heard Wednesday include egregious legislation that would:
" Mandate through state statute that a woman undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion;
" Create a medically unnecessary 24 hour wait period prior to having an abortion;
" Attempt to apply personhood rights to a fetus;
" Create stringent criminal and civil penalties against abortion providers who dont comply with the ultrasound or wait period laws;
" Create additional laws around late term abortions which are already in place on the federal level.
Despite a womans constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is one of 22 states and the only state in New England that the Guttmacher Institute designates as hostile to womens reproductive health. Rhode Island also receives a D+ from NARAL Pro-Choice America for lack of access to reproductive health services, stringent informed consent laws, parental consent laws and a ban on public funding for abortions.
A majority of Americans oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was made crystal clear in November, when voters stood up to protect a womans ability to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians. Its time for Rhode Island to focus on helping women and families get access to preventive health services, annual exams and access to effective and affordable birth control. In doing so we can work together to empower families, reduce unintended pregnancies and align Rhode Island with other New England states.
RI Public Policy & Advocacy Director at PPSNE
We need to remember that women's reproductive rights have been and will always be inextricably linked to our ability to achieve economic and social equality in this country. When women have access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, we gain the capacity to participate fully in all aspects of public and private life. While there are forces in this country that seek to deny women our basic rights, there remains a persistent majority that respects the fact that decisions regarding reproductive health care are a matter of privacy and should remain that way. We can never go back.
President RI National Organization for Women
Rhode Islands proud heritage is grounded in broad religious freedom and tolerance. We are home to the first synagogue in the country, the first Baptist church in America, and many other grand and significant houses of worship. We are blessed with a vibrant and important religious life in our state. We must always defend the freedom of religion and celebrate the diversity of viewpoints in our state. Quite simply, when access to abortion, birth control and other medical services is limited, it prevents women from taking action that is permitted by their personal religious teaching. We should all respect women as moral decision makers who are in control of their own bodies.
Rabbi Peter Stein
Chair of the RI Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Organizations planning to testify against the legislation include the RI Medical Society, Planned Parenthood Southern New England, ACLU Rhode Island, National Association of Social Workers in Rhode Island, League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, Rhode Island National Organization for Women, National Council for Jewish Women, Ocean State Action, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Humanists of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Progressive Democrats and more.
The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Justice opposes House Bills 5104, 5334, 5435, 5488, 5566.