Protecting the Promise of Roe in Rhode Island
Sen. Gayle Goldin to introduce the Senate version of the Reproductive Health Care Act as advocates celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and urge lawmakers to protect the rights affirmed in the historic case.
(Providence, RI) – Statement by The Womxn Project:
“Today, Senator Gayle Goldin will introduce the senate version of the Reproductive Health Care Act (House Bill 5127). It is a momentous day to do so. Forty-six years ago on this date, the Supreme Court affirmed the right to abortion in the groundbreaking case of Roe v. Wade. Over the years this decision has resulted in legal arguments and debates, but we need people to remember that this is not about politics. It is about our rights, our health and our lives.
The very stark and simple fact is that when abortion care is not legal it forces many people into desperate and harmful situations. Before Roe and the ability for women to get safe, abortion care, every large hospital across the country had a special section for women who were suffering from infections from improperly performed abortions. An estimated 5,000 women died every year. The mortality rate for Black and Hispanic women was twelve times higher.
Many families have a hushed story of a great Aunt who died alone in a dorm room or a cousin who suffered in silence from permanent injuries from an unsafe, illegal procedure. There were mothers who died from infections in hotel rooms and sisters who could no longer have children after complications from a botched abortion. This is what we could face again if Roe is overturned. When care is legal and people are able to seek an abortion from a trained provider, the complication rate is less than 1%. Even if someone would not personally seek an abortion, we have to agree that we do not want to go back to women dying in back alleys.
If the Supreme Court were to take away protections for the right to abortion, it would punt the question to the states. That means that every state would determine if women could get safe and legal care. It also means that we have the opportunity to make sure right now that no matter what happens at the federal level that we will ensure the health, rights and safety of women in Rhode Island. More than 70% of voters and 61% of Catholics in our state have said that they support the enactment of the right to abortion. It has strong support and is frankly the right thing to do.
We have the opportunity to make sure that in our state that will never happen again. We need our lawmakers to take action and pass the Reproductive Health Care Act. A weaker, alternative bill (House Bill 5125) was introduced last week, but the fact is that this legislation falls short of enshrining the promise of Roe.
We are grateful to the 39 sponsors in the House and the 17 senators on the bill that will be introduced today. We don’t ever want to live in a community where women have to put their lives at risk because they need to end a pregnancy. We are calling on our state’s leaders to advance and enact the RHCA and to truly ensure that we won’t go back to those days. The time is now.”
Jocelyn Foye and Jordan Hevenor are available for interview by request.
ENCLOSED: Full list of Senate Sponsors may be found here: https://thewomanproject.org/rhode-island-senate-sponsor-listing/