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PPV!RI promises to continue to fight for the basic human right for all people to control their own bodies

(Providence, RI) — Today, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPV!RI) joined our allies in the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom in calling on Senate leadership to bring the Reproductive Privacy Act (H 5125A) to the floor for a vote by the full Senate.

PPV!RI welcomed Toni Van Pelt, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), to rally with advocates in support of reproductive rights. “In the last few months, we’ve seen a turbo-charged assault on reproductive rights from state legislatures and anti-abortion Governors to consolidate their power over women’s bodies, turn back the clock on women’s rights, and put the health and safety of women and girls at risk by passing the most outrageous, immoral and unconstitutional restrictions and bans on abortion care,” said Van Pelt. “Donald Trump promised them a Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, and now that he’s installed two Justices he picked from a list of anti-abortion judges, the race is on to pass a law that could attract a Supreme Court challenge to abortion rights. We must succeed in passing the RPA to show the nation that Rhode Island's call to #LetItOut can rise above the din of anti-abortion extremism and misogyny.”

Danika Wynn Severino, Regional Director of Health Center Operations at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said, “On behalf of our patients and our amazing team of care providers, and on behalf of our supporters and donors, we have one clear message: it is time to protect safe, legal abortion and pass the Reproductive Privacy Act. As a clinician I am petrified by the restrictive legislation that we see being introduced across our country. Missouri and Louisiana are just the latest in a wave of states enacting unconstitutional restrictions on access to abortion with the goal of bringing a case to the Supreme Court and overturning the federal right to abortion.

“Over the last few weeks, hundreds of Rhode Islanders have shown up at the State House and at events across the state demanding action to protect safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island. One of the most exciting was Thursday, May 23rd—dozens of high school students fighting for their future organized themselves and made themselves heard at the State House. They are fighting for the future.”

Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of PPV!RI, released a statement saying:

“Every Rhode Island resident deserves to know where every member of the Senate stands on the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including access to safe, legal abortion.

“Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, President Dominick Ruggerio and Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin lead a Senate in which 33 of 38 members (87%) are Democrats, in a state where every statewide officer is a Democrat who openly supports the RPA, and our US Senators have been repeatedly re-elected while standing up for reproductive freedom.

“Rhode Island Senators McCaffrey, Ruggerio, and Goodwin have the opportunity to put into action the words of the Democratic Party of Rhode Island’s platform: ‘We view a woman's right to choose as a private matter, which is a fundamental liberty protected by the United States Constitution. Therefore, we will fight to protect a woman’s right and a family’s right to seek medical care wherever they wish, regardless of ability to pay, and we support laws designed to protect that right.’

“Elections matter—we are closer than ever before to protecting safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island. There is a clear mandate from the people of Rhode Island to protect safe, legal abortion. On October 14, 2018, polling

showed 71% of Rhode Islanders support a law to protect safe, legal abortion. In the 2018 elections, Rhode Island elected the most Planned Parenthood-endorsed candidates in history, including 12 new voices for reproductive freedom. Since 2016, 75% of newly elected members of the Rhode Island General Assembly are open supporters of reproductive freedom, including the right to safe, legal abortion. All five statewide General Officers support passing a law to put the protections of Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island statute, and we thank Gov. Raimondo for calling on the Assembly to act this year in her 2019 State of the State address.

“President Trump has doubled-down on his attacks on women’s health care, using blatant lies to manipulate emotions. Many states have passed laws aimed at eliminating access to abortion. Just last week, the Governor of Louisiana signed a bill banning abortion as early as six weeks. There is a cruel, coordinated effort for states to pass laws that will go to Trump’s Supreme Court and provide the opportunity to reverse four decades of precedent protecting the fundamental right to abortion. Rhode Island has the chance to stand up and to set an example by protecting a person’s right to choose when to start or grow a family.”