It has been an exciting week – and continues to a thrilling time in the campaign to protect the right to abortion in our state.
→ The number of volunteers coming together around Rhode Island continues to grow. We are astonished at the number of people attending and hosting events or picking up postcard and call packets to volunteer on their own time. Check it out and join us. <3
→ The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing on S 152, the Reproductive Health Care Act for Tuesday, March 5th. We need you to be there with us. Learn more HERE and join us!
→Last night, the House Judiciary committee released an amendment (a sub A) to H 5125, the Reproductive Privacy Act. As you may know, there has been a discussion about two different bills in the House and how best to find a vehicle that can be moved forward in agreement with sponsors and the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and the large number of lawmakers who want to protect the right to abortion. That is the goal plain and simple.
More info below!
So what does this all mean? We need to show up and make it clear that we are done waiting for our rights to be protected. Be there with us on March 5th.
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What does it look like now?
- Read the statement from the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.
- The sub A (amendment) for the RPA (H 5125) will be voted on Tuesday in House Judiciary. The Coalition and The Womxn Project are in support of this amendment.
- We would like to see the Senate version of the RHCA (S 152) be amended in the Senate to line up with the RPA.
- We want both of the bills to move to the floor right away and to pass without exception or amendment. NO AMENDMENTS. This amendment was very thoughtfully crafted. It is time to stop the delays and get these bills passed into law.
What should we know about the proposed amendment to the RPA?
While the language is not exactly the same as the RHCA, here’s the good news – the facts behind the bill are the same.
- It codifies the protections of the Roe v. Wade decision into Rhode Island statute.
- It removes laws that are currently on Rhode Island books that are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
- It allows a pregnant person the legal right to obtain an abortion up to fetal viability.
- After viability, access to services would be limited to cases where a woman’s life or health was at risk. This is the law as it stands today and neither the RHCA nor the proposed amendment for the RPA change that.
So what’s different?
- There is language regarding the state law that forces young people to obtain parental consent. It would allow a grandparent or an adult sibling over 25 to also provide consent for a young person to seek an abortion.
- It removes the state law around partial birth abortion, which was already found to be unenforceable.This does NOT change that abortion after the point of viability is provided only in cases where a woman’s life or health is at risk. The amended RPA has language making clear that the federal PBA ban would still be enforced.
- Opposition will make all kinds of inflammatory and ridiculous claims, but it does NOT permit abortion at any point in pregnancy. It does protect the difficult situations where a woman’s life or health is at risk. That’s it.
In the end, the facts behind the proposed amendment to the RPA and the RHCA as currently written are essentially the same – codify Roe, remove unconstitutional laws from the books, protect the individual right to abortion up until viability, provide medical options including abortion after viability to save a woman’s life or health – that is it. That is protecting the status quo, fulfilling the promise of Roe and protecting the right to abortion. That is what we need to do now, so that no matter what happens at the federal level if you need an abortion in Rhode Island, you know you can get safe, legal care.
No more delays. The time is now. Let’s get this done and protect the right to abortion THIS YEAR!