While Rhode Island became the final state in New England to pass marriage equality for all loving couples in 2013, the state is beginning to take a step back for reproductive rights. The Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Justice calls on the Governor to reject this disingenuous political affront to comprehensive reproductive health services by vetoing this bill.
We are aggrieved and extremely disappointed that Speaker Gordon Fox , who has stood with women consistently for nearly two decades, allowed the legislature to play games with womens health, said Paula Hodges, RI Public Policy & Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Carenet is an unregulated so-called crisis pregnancy center that does absolutely nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy or fund evidence based programs that will curb the abortion rate in Rhode Island. Supporting as organization such as Carenet makes us question where the General Assemblys priorities are.
Carolyn Mark, President of RI National Organization for Women said the sad reality is that if anti-abortion activists spent half their energy working with us to reduce the number unintended pregnancies or on comprehensive sex education and access to family planning services we could actually help reduce the number of abortions in Rhode Island. We are dismayed and frustrated that this legislature, under Speaker Fox leadership, has spent more time appeasing the radical right than looking at real solutions to real problems.
Rabbi Peter Stein, board member of Rhode Island Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said the following, I join together with many others, fellow members of the clergy and leaders and activists across Rhode Island, in lamenting the decision to approve an anti-choice license plate option. It is wrong to offer narrow and divisive political perspectives on our state license plates. In addition, with the proceeds from the sale of these plates going to a crisis pregnancy center, the state will be supporting manipulative programs that shame women and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship
Despite 40 years of a womans constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions, as defined by Roe v Wade, without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk in the 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.
While we are disappointed by this vote, we thank the members who stood with s and hope that the General Assembly and the Governor will stand with women in the future.